Lottery vital for Arizona’s financial plan; will voters keep it?

[Source: Alexander MacLean, Cronkite News Service] — While other contributors to state revenues have dropped off severely of late, the Arizona Lottery has been a growing source of tens of millions of dollars per year since its inception in 1980.  The lottery funds a variety of voter-approved state programs in areas such as education, health and transportation and has contributed $2.3 billion in all to its beneficiaries.

Its revenue has been so reliable that one proposal for plugging the gaping hole in the state budget involves borrowing against lottery proceeds.  Called lottery securitization, that plan calls for the state to take out a loan and pay it back with annual lottery profits transferred into the state’s general fund.  But while the lottery’s revenue and growth have been certainties, its future isn’t assured.  By law, the lottery must be reauthorized periodically, and the current authorization is scheduled to expire July 1, 2012. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]