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Arkansas lottery surfaces again

Feb 7, 2006, 10:15 am

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The Arkansas Supreme Court's order to boost funding for public schools could bring proposals for a state lottery front and center again.

At least two candidates for statewide office are touting a lottery as the way to solve funding shortfalls, and a legislator and long-time supporter of a lottery said he may push for such an initiative during a special session.

Newly announced gubernatorial candidate Bill Halter, a Democrat, used his announcement speech to call for a lottery to pay for education improvements. He said a lottery would raise as much as $250 million dollars a year that wouldn't come from other sources of school funding.

Drew Pritt, a Democrat running for lieutenant governor, has also been pushing for a lottery, but he has been unsuccessful in his effort to place a lottery proposal on the ballot in November.

State Representative Buddy Blair of Fort Smith, who introduced a lottery proposal during last year's regular session, is looking at the matter again. He says lottery-funded education improvements would have addressed some of the shortcomings cited by justices. Blair says he may re-introduce his lottery proposal if the Legislature meets in a special session this year.

In our survey Arkansas, we asked 500 people if they would be more likely to support a lottery if the money would be spent only on education. Sixty-four percent said yes. Seventeen percent said they would be less likely to support it.
Nineteen percent said it wouldn't make any difference.

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