During the 2011 legislative session, we worked with Rep. Ann Clemmer to raise the percentage of lottery proceeds that go to scholarships. Back then, we discovered that only about 21% of the lottery’s proceeds were being allotted for scholarships, and we decided this needed to change. After all, if we’re going to have the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, surely it should do a better job living up to its name. Even though the scholarship proposal wasn’t successful, Rep. Clemmer did a great job showing the legislature that there was a positive path to take on this issue.
Now, as the 2013 legislative session approaches, we still have the same problem—our so-called “scholarship” lottery is not performing as promised. As a matter of fact, the percentage of lottery proceeds going to scholarships is still around 21%. Something needs to be done, and we hope the upcoming session will be the time to do it.
Of course, critics of mandating a scholarship percentage will cite recent news as a primary reason why we can’t raise it. They’ll say, “The lottery is taking in less money now. If we mandate a percentage, lottery revenue will decrease because we’ll have less for things like advertising, and scholarships will go down as a result.” Here’s the truth: Even if overall lottery revenue decreased as a result of raising the scholarship percentage, more could still be paid out in scholarships. Click here to read how.
Let’s raise the lottery’s scholarship percentage and put more money towards the program’s intended purpose. The students will benefit from such a proposal, and the lottery will get some necessary accountability in its spending. It’s a win-win scenario.