According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, on Wednesday the Arkansas Lottery Commission lowered its budget for the next year, cutting scholarship funding by $3 million to a total $78.2 million. This is $3.3 million less than the Arkansas Lottery paid in scholarships this past year.
We have written before how the Arkansas Lottery Commission has struggled to live up to its promises. Scholarship funding has never reached the levels promised in 2008; the Arkansas Lottery Commission has cut scholarship funds time and time again, but has somehow managed to afford new employees, raises, and bonuses; and lottery officials, in the past, have openly defied members of the Arkansas Legislature.
We’ve been saying it for nearly five years, but the problem down at the Arkansas Lottery Commission is not a revenue problem or a budget problem; it’s a priorities problem. Scholarships are the last bill the Lottery pays and the first thing they cut if ticket sales drop. This latest budget cut is simply another verse in that same old song.