Paycheck$ and Politics Newsletter: Issue 43

Over the past few decades, there have been many attempts to pass a state lottery in Arkansas—all of which have been defeated. Under the latest lottery plan, proposed by Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, lottery revenue would be used for scholarships and grants for state residents attending any certified two-year or four-year college or university in Arkansas (the General Assembly would determine who was eligible). According to his “Hope for Arkansas” lottery website, a lottery is “expected to generate over $100 million in net revenue which would supplement, not replace, existing college scholarship funding.”

However, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) estimates that number is more likely around $61.5 million. Regardless of the actual amount of revenue generated, is a lottery really a good method of funding education? Research and experience from other states overwhelmingly shows that lotteries not only fail to live up to their promised levels of revenue but also may make matters worse—especially for our most vulnerable children and families.