LAO: Governor's Lottery Plan Doesn't Add Up

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, May 19, 2008
Non-partisan legislative analyst Elizabeth Hill agrees with the Governor that the size of the budget shortfall is about fifteen billion dollars. And she agrees with him that selling bonds based on future lottery profits to help fill the gap is reasonable. But here’s where she differs: Hill fears the Governor is too optimistic about how much money a ramped-up lottery could generate. And since investors would get paid first....and schools second...she says education could be left with less lottery money than the 1.2 billion a year it gets now. Hill says it’s time for an honest conversation with Californians about the state of the budget: “I just think that we really do need to level with the public. You’re not going to close this gap and increase all programs to the levels they want to be.” Hill proposes her own alternative spending plan, which includes a scaled-down lottery proposal. Administration officials say the Governor’s lottery projections are on target – and they’re confident voters will approve his plan.