School Funding Woes May Renew Lottery Debate

February 4, 2006 - Posted at 1:59 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) _ At least two candidates for statewide office

are touting a lottery as the way to solve school-funding

shortfalls. And legislator and longtime lottery proponent, Buddy

Blair of Fort Smith, says he may push for such an initiative during

a special session.

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Halter, a Democrat, says a lottery

would raise as much as 250 million dollars a year and would not

replace other revenues for education. And Drew Pritt, a Democrat

running for lieutenant governor, has been pushing for a lottery.

Both candidates say a lottery would be popular with voters who

are wary of tax increases.

During last year's regular session, Representative Blair

introduced a lottery proposal, and he says he might re-introduce

the legislation if the Legislature meets in special session this

year. Blair says lottery-funded education improvements would have

addressed some of the shortcomings cited by state Supreme Court

justices in the long-running school case.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)