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Legislators Examing Lottery Proceeds
Friday, 27 August 2010

August 27--  Georgia lamakers are concerned about shrinking reserves in the Georgia lottery fund.

State Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville says the current $1 billion in reserves is expected to go down by nearly two-thirds by the end of fiscal year 2012.  That's a threat to funding of the state's HOPE college scholarships.

"One of the things that kinds of disturbs me is that our lottery has steadily gone down on the percentage of revenues we get for education.  We're only getting about 25% and that means that 75% of all lottery revenues go for expenses or prizes," the Senator says.

The law which set up the state lottery called for 35% of revenues to go to education, a goal which has never been met, according to Senator Hill.

Higher education committees in both the House and the Senate are discussing the future of the state's lottery funded programs including funding of Pre-Kindergarten classes and HOPE grants to technical colleges.

Senator Hill thinks a larger share should go to the four-year HOPE scholarships because the state needs more college graduates.  "Of all the pieces we pay out on, we get the most return on our money from the HOPE scholarship. There is a direct relationship between personal income growth and the number of college graduates," he says.

Last fiscal year, the Georgia Lottery sold $3.6 billion in lottery tickets, but deposited only $884 million in the lottery education account. 

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