Tennessee and the lottery – is it a possible future partnership?
Come Nov. 5, that will be a question facing every Tennes-sean who takes the time to go out and vote.
Statewide surveys indicate a 2-to-1 ratio of those in favor of the lottery. If voters approve the lottery referendum, only Hawaii and Utah will continue with no form of legalized gambling.
We believe that Tennessee should have a lottery.
For example, people go to other states to buy lottery tickets.
Because of the recent increase in sales taxes, people are also buying groceries, etc., elsewhere. There goes more money away from local businesses in Weakley County and the 40-plus other border counties in Tennessee.
The state has faced, and will likely continue to face, severe budget problems. Short of TennCare reform or tax reform, a lottery may be one of the most feasible ways to pump revenue into our strapped economy rather than another state’s economy.
Higher education funding, as well as K-12 funding, is always a strain on the state budget. If the legislation passes, then the lottery will be set up similar to the Georgia lottery and is supposed to help in funding scholarships.
According to the Georgia Student Finance Commission’s Web site, almost $2 billion has been awarded in scholarships to Georgia students to attend state higher education schools.
That’s a lot of students who have been able to further their education.
We do not, however, believe that higher education funding should become solely dependent upon a lottery.
We also understand that lottery opponents believe it corrupts and hurts children and the poor, as well as being a bad economic solution.
Any risk, of course, comes with controversy, and we believe this risk is one we need to take.