Drew's views

Drew's views

September 7th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

HEADLINE: District 7 City Council candidate, Chris Anderson, publicly says he's gay.

THE RECAP: Anderson, the first openly gay candidate to run for elected office in Chattanooga history, is running against current City Councilman Manny Rico. Rico said Wednesday that he does not see Anderson's sexuality as important to the race.

DREW'S VIEW: While many of Chris Anderson's political beliefs are not in line with the free market, limited government tenets championed on this editorial page, his bravery is to be commended. Still, being the first openly gay political candidate in Chattanooga comes with responsibility, pressure and more than a few unknowns.

Win or lose, Anderson will make it easier for other gay individuals to become politically active in Chattanooga and, for that, he is a pioneer who should be admired. Manny Rico also deserves praise for not committing the vulgar mistake of making Anderson's sexuality an issue in the campaign.

Let's hope that voters consider Anderson's vision for Chattanooga, rather than his sexuality, when voting next March.

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HEADLINE: $1 million Powerball win in Chattanooga

THE RECAP: A $1 million winning Powerball ticket has been sold in Chattanooga, according to the Tennessee Lottery Corp. It is the 92th ticket sold in Tennessee worth $1 million or more since the lottery began in 2004.

DREW'S VIEW: It's important to point out that playing the lottery is absurd. As the saying goes, the lottery is a tax on people who can't do math.

If there's one benefit of lotteries, however, it's that they allow the government to raise money from only the people who are willing to provide the revenue. That means that I'm not being forced to pay for some kid's lottery-funded scholarship that allows him to take Women's and Gender Studies classes at Austin Peay while spending most of his time playing Madden on his Xbox and figuring out how to make a bong out an iPad case and an old pizza box.

Since the lottery is a tax on people who can't do math, it's little wonder that the people who win don't understand how little they've actually won. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't turn down the money, but it's just not nearly as much as it seems.

The $1 million Powerball winner has an option of receiving their money in a lump sum amount or in an annuity of equal annual payments for 26 years. For $1 million, the lump sum payout comes to about $540,500 before taxes. Annual payments would be about $38,400 a year before taxes. But, since the tax man takes 35 percent of any lottery winnings over $600, the lump sum is actually closer to $351,000 and the annual payments are only $25,000.

By collecting the $1 million Powerball prize, the winner can buy a nice house or retire a few years early, but that's about it.

Fortunately for the Chattanooga-area winner, Tennessee does not tax lottery winnings. New Jersey taxes lottery winnings at 10.8 percent and Maryland takes 9.25 percent of winnings. New York City residents lose 12.62 percent of their lottery winnings to state and local taxes. That means that the lump sum payment on a $1 million Powerball ticket would be less than $307,000 in New York City - or about the cost of purchasing a single parking space in a nice part of Manhattan.

"Drew's views" is a roundup of Free Press opinions about Times Free Press stories from the previous week. Follow Drew on Twitter: @Drews_Views.