The Corbett administration says it’s trying to push a year-end deadline back by two or three weeks to decide whether to lease the operations of the Pennsylvania Lottery to a private company.
The main reason the commonwealth is pushing for more time has to do with the union that represents some of the Lottery’s employees.
The union is allowed to make its own counteroffer to the private bid on the Lottery, and it just got an extension, making its offer due in early January.
But state Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser says there’s another reason the commonwealth is pursuing a later deadline.
“The governor is very concerned about what I consider to be ridiculous claims that this … process has lacked transparency,” Meuser said.
He objects to the criticism that’s come from state lawmakers in both parties – that finalizing a privatization proposal of the Lottery’s operations before the New Year is a way to avoid legislative oversight.
“We believe there’s been a very lengthy due process here. The bid was let known to all legislators and stakeholders at the appropriate timeframes.” he said.
Meuser says he and another Corbett administration official have, together, held more than 100 meetings with Republican and Democratic state legislators.
Just one of those meetings was public — a hearing this past spring.
There may be another shot at quelling transparency concerns before a bid is finalized — the chair of the Senate Finance Committee has just put a public hearing on the schedule for mid-January.