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It's High Noon on video poker legislation

We're fast approaching High Noon in Charleston over the issue of video poker machines. Gov. Wise wants them regulated and taxed and he wants some of the revenue to fund the PROMISE scholarship program.

Some lawmakers don't want to legalize gray machines, but if they were, they want the revenues from them to pay for the reorganization of higher education.

Video poker would likely bring in about $22 million in the first year, about half of which would go to PROMISE.

Wise, just like Gary Cooper, is walking down Main Street, so to speak. Confrontation is inevitable.

"This budget is so tight. There is no fat in it. There's no room," Wise told the Associated Press. "We prepared this budget and without adding any new programs we were already $11 million down. So the gray machine money becomes vital."

He also said he would "fight to the very end for the PROMISE scholarship."

After spending two decades on Capitol Hill, Wise knows a thing or two about compromise, but his patience seems to be running out. "There's a point on PROMISE on which I don't get flexible anymore," he said.

In the movie, Gary Cooper won. We'll just have to wait to see if life imitates art.

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