Next Monday is a very big date in the debate over whether to turn the Pennsylvania Lottery over to private business.
That's the time set for hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on a proposal to hire a private company to manage the $3.5 billion lottery operation.
There's a bid on the table from Camelot Global Services, a British company, to manage the lottery system on a 20- to 30-year contract.
A spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett's Department of Revenue says officials are happy to answer questions at the hearing in any format.
Meanwhile, unionized lottery employees plan to offer a competitive alternative.
That's fine. As long as the purpose of the bid goes beyond self-preservation.
The lottery is supposed to benefit senior citizens programs.
The point of changing the program to a privately managed lottery is to improve efficiency, reduce bureaucracy and state spending waste and generate revenues in the process.
Whether it's the lottery or liquor, the state government needs to reduce, not expand, its involvement in things not logically within its scope.
There's been quite a bit of brainwashing of state residents by some elected officials and special interests groups in recent decades.
It's gotten to the point where rather bizarrely people are claiming with a straight face that the government can handle lotteries, liquor sales and turnpike operations better than the private sector.
The track record of the private sector vs. government services suggests otherwise.
And the states that have grasped the concept of privatizing services, such as Indiana, have shown dramatic fiscal and economic health improvement.
It's time for Pennsylvania to join that group and the lottery is a worthy place to start.