FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Family Council President Jerry Cox issued a statement Wednesday in response to the Lottery Oversight Committee’s decision to cut lottery scholarships by 10 percent.
“This is why we’ve always believed the Arkansas Lottery was a poor way to fund scholarships,” Cox said, “because they claim their purpose is to fund education, but the reality is they end up blowing hundreds of million of dollars on advertising and high-paid executives, and the students wanting to go to college take the backseat.
“Our lottery only allocates about 21.5-cents on the dollar for scholarships. Louisiana’s allocates 35-cents on the dollar. In 2010, Louisiana’s lottery took in roughly $100 million less than Arkansas’ lottery did during its first 12 months of operation, but it paid out almost $30 million more in education funding than Arkansas’ did. That tells me Arkansas’ lottery is not being run right, when a lottery that makes less money than ours can still pay more money toward its stated purpose than we can.”
Cox said he’s hopeful that Representative Ann Clemmer’s proposed constitutional amendment will solve this problem. “Lottery officials want to wrap themselves in the scholarships, and use that to justify every decision they make,” Cox said, “but we can see they are not putting scholarships first. If they were, we wouldn’t have this problem. Representative Clemmer has a plan that would change that. Under her amendment, Arkansas would allocate at least 35 percent of its lottery sales for college scholarships—the same way Louisiana does for its educational programs. If we do that, we could be looking at a 14 percent scholarship increase instead of a 10 percent scholarship cut. No matter how you feel about the lottery, that’s something everyone ought to be able to support.
“The way you judge a lottery’s performance isn’t by how much money it makes. It’s by how much the lottery pays out for its intended purpose. Arkansas’ lottery is failing while Louisiana’s is succeeding, but I think that will change if the legislature passes Representative Clemmer’s constitutional amendment.”