Poll: Should Lotto $ Go Directly To Schools?
A Providence legislator has proposed a bill that would require new gambling revenue to go directly to education funding — what do you think?
Most Rhode Islanders of a certain age remain convinced that, when the idea of a state lottery was originally floated in the early '70s, it was "sold" by legislators as a surefire way to fund schools.
In fact, some younger folks still think that lottery revenue automatically goes toward paying the state's school funding.
On Wednesday, the Providence Journal's PolitiFact team reported that a claim made to that effect by state Sen. Harold Metts (D-Providence) turns out to be false.
Metts recently sponsored a bill (S-2737) that would split any revenue from new gambling establishments among Rhode Island's cities and towns — and following the huge $336 million lottery win in Newport, East Greenwich Rep. Robert Watson proposed a new law that would earmark taxes on big lottery payouts to education funding.
The Rhode Island Lottery's financial report for fiscal 2011 reported that the state's general fund received about $354.8 million from gambling, with the Lot's financial information web page reporting that 28.1 percent of that amount — an estimated $100 million — going toward education.
What do you think? Is it time to formalize how lottery and other gambling revenue is used by the state? Or do you think the General Assembly should keep the flexibility to spend the money in any way it thinks is right?
Cast your vote in our poll, and add your comments below.