Oct. 23, 2013 – Since its creation in 1971, the Pennsylvania Lottery has always remained dedicated to supporting senior citizens in the state. Beginning with property tax relief, that support has grown to include support for medication costs, rent rebates, fare reductions for public transit, and more.
Now, one Pennsylvania Rep. Stephen Barrar (R), is asking lawmakers to consider sending some lottery dollars in a different direction, diverting a more than 40-year-strong flow of funding for senior support programs.
Barrar’s proposed legislation would amend the Lottery Act to include Pennsylvania veterans as beneficiaries of the state Lottery.
However, rather than siphoning funds from the Lottery’s total revenue each year, the proposed changes would create a new instant ticket specifically dedicated to raising dollars for the Veteran’s Trust Fund. Those funds would be used to support benefit and outreach programs for veterans in the state.
According to PennLive reporter Jan Murphy, the state’s Department of Revenue does not support the proposal.
Elizabeth Brassel, a spokesperson for the Department, told Murphy that adding a game with a specific fundraising goal could “set a dangerous precedent” for other groups seeking Lottery funding.
In addition to Brassel’s concern that the bill could ultimately “harm the instant [ticket] portfolio,” there are also concerns that the Lottery’s fundraising efforts could be outpaced by the growing population of senior citizens.
Those worries have led Gov. Tom Corbett and his administration to consider turning the Lottery over to a private contractor. UK-based Camelot Global Services has so far presented the only bid for the contract.
While Barrar’s bill passed unanimously Monday through the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, it has yet to be voted on by the state House of Representatives as a whole.