Have you ever bought a lottery scratch ticket or tried your hand at video poker? Did you ever think about where the money you put into these games ends up? Lottery brings in an increasing amount of dollars to Oregon and it pays for a lot of different things. Most of the money goes to fund education or state parks. Smaller amounts of lottery profits also goes to economic development, college athletics, gambling addiction resources and county fairs. An initiative on the November ballot would commit 15 percent of Oregon lottery profits to public safety. Backers of Measure 62 say the money is needed to help stabilize funding for state police investigations, aid to at-risk children and county law enforcement.
The Register-Guard estimates Measure 62 would result in $439 million for public safety over four years. Opponents of the measure argue that diverting funds away from parks and schools is a bad idea. According to the state budget office, the 15 percent of lottery funds allocated for parks and natural resources as well as the 18 percent that goes to the Education Stability Fund is untouchable, and won’t be affected by Measure 62. The proposed allotment of lottery dollars for public safety would have to come from $778 million in discretionary funds, a large chunk of which goes to K-12 education.
Are you supporting Measure 62? Why or why not? What facts and figures do you need to help you make up your mind? How do you think the lottery pie should be divided?
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OPB | Feb. 22, 2017