OPEN LETTER TO DELEGATE STEMPLE

(03/28/2001)

Dear Delegate Stemple

I must say I was surprised to hear a news tidbit on WCHS 58 Radio early this week - the one about Governor Bob Wise applauding your efforts to garner support for the legalization of the so-called "gray machines". I didn't realize that you were SO in favor of legalizing gambling in WV!

I look around Calhoun County and simply do not see a lot of these machines.... maybe here and there in a bar (and we have so many of those) or store. How come there are so few of them here? Could it be that the voters of your district don't really care much for the concept of gambling? Could it be that the area's populous has better things to do with their hard-earned money?

I for one, sincerely wish you would change your stance on this bill. WV does not need South Carolina's problems, gambling companies, or scholarships tied to gambling revenues. The lotteries are enough!

A better funding concept might be to channel some lottery money into the existing state higher education grant, which is based upon need and grades.... after, of course, every single senior citizens' group in the state has a brand-spanking new building in which to meet, and a fleet of buses in which to travel to and fro. I book about 30,000 miles a year in my travels around the state, and it looks like this is almost accomplished. Amend the lottery distribution, don't add new ways to profit from the citizens' losses.

And, while I (hopefully) have your attention, don't vote to extend the $.05 per gallon gas tax, either. If Governor Bob's claim (that the highway department would come to a stand still without it) is true, one has to wonder where they have been spending this "match" money in past years. My understanding was that this particular tax was for Federal matching funds only. Since that particular federal program has run out, why would the highway department NEED this money to operate? Did it collect more than what was needed for the federal match? Has the DOH been using these tax dollars for general operating expenses?

We don't need more taxes - we need the state to trim its excess fat, cut some "fluff", trim some "pork", tighten its belt. Please send a copy of the proposed budget to the Hur Herald.... I am sure that the readers can make some thoughtful, intelligent suggestions about cutting down the state's expenditures.

Sincerely,
Diann Clothier
Millstone WV