/Potential special session on roads that includes lottery not without pitfalls

Potential special session on roads that includes lottery not without pitfalls

The Republican governor suggested in past statements that he would use revenue from the lottery to fund transportation needs. It has been speculated that he might call a special session in this month. Bryant stated last week that if we call a special meeting, if I do so, and if we reach an agreement, then we will get out to fix roads and bridges. I have a plan that will do this without increasing your taxes. Some people won’t like this. They want your taxes raised. Bryant and others may argue that a lottery does not constitute a tax. However, other groups would disagree with Bryant, such as those who have traditionally supported the Republican governor. He is well-known for his conservative social leanings on many issues. The editor of the Mississippi Baptist Record William Perkins stated, “You can rest assured that we will fight the lottery until the end. The state’s lottery is no more beneficial than gambling, sports betting, or liquor. However, the combined revenues of casino gambling and liquor exceed $200 million annually. Perkins and others argue that the social costs of gambling and liquor to the state and its citizens – which include addictions that can cause families to break down, and the need for more counseling and other services by the state – is greater than the revenue collected. Perkins also claimed that legislators who approved casinos and liquor argued that their revenue would solve state education problems. He said, “We are still at the bottom.” “The lottery won’t be different.” Perkins stated that the Mississippi Baptist Convention will print the names of legislators who vote for a lottery to inform their constituents. Both the governor and the legislature have been trying to figure out how to address what is most commonly agreed to be a declining infrastructure system at both the local and state levels. Officials have ordered the closing of hundreds of unsafe county bridges. They also estimate that an additional $400 million is required annually to fix state transportation problems. The political leadership has not shown any willingness to raise the motor fuel tax which is the main source of funding for infrastructure. However, Mississippi has seen a growing interest in enacting a lottery. In recent years, the Mississippi House has voted on multiple occasions to amend laws to create a lottery. These proposals were defeated, however, later in the process. Mississippi is one of six states that do not have a lottery. Senator Philip Moran (R-Kiln) said that about 40 of 52 state senators signed a petition in support of the lottery during the 2018 session. Moran claimed that the governor told him that the special session would include the enactment the lottery. According to him, rumors have circulated that the special session will be called within two weeks. Moran stated that a poll showed support for the lottery at over 70% in Mississippi. He said, “That’s a very overwhelming number.” Moran stated, “You cannot ignore that.” Moran indicated that if the legislative leadership permits a vote on lottery, it would pass. Moran stated, as has the governor in the past: Mississippians are traveling to neighboring states Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana each year to buy lottery tickets. This is a loss of millions of dollars to the state. According to a study by the University Research Center for a House Lottery Study Group, Mississippians could spend as much as $70million annually on tickets bought in neighboring states. The study did find that Mississippi could have more money flowing to the state if it had a lottery. Darrin Webb, the State Economist explained that the “leakage” could be caused by the payment of lottery equipment to state companies and people buying lottery tickets in Mississippi from people outside the state. These earnings are then taken out of the state. There is also the argument that the lottery doesn’t generate new revenue but diverts income or worse, non-disposable income to the purchase lottery tickets. According to a 2015 Atlantic magazine report, $70 billion in lottery tickets is purchased annually, according to numbers from CNN Money and other groups. This amount is more than what is spent on books, tickets for movies and sports events. The University Research Center still estimated that the state would eventually be able to generate between $83 and $92 millions from a lottery. It is believed that the state would get more revenue from selling a lottery ticket – an estimated 30% on each sale – than it would from other items subject to 7% tax. Webb warned members of the study panel at a November hearing that a lottery was a way to raise revenue without increasing taxes, and thus is appealing to many. A large portion of this revenue will be generated by those with lower incomes. Mississippi already has a problem with poor financial decisions, such as those regarding health and family planning. The state of Mississippi will invest in and encourage people with low incomes to make poor financial choices through the Mississippi lottery.”