Lt. Governor Proposes State Lottery for 2008 Ballot

September 18, 2007 - Posted at 6:31 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO-On Tuesday, Arkansas Lieutenant Governor, Bill Halter said he hopes to have a state lottery on the ballot by 2008.

"That gives Arkansas voters the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not the state should have a lottery, with all of the proceeds going to scholarship assistance to Arkansas students," said Halter.

Currently Arkansas is only one of eight states across the nation without a state lottery in place.

Neighboring Mississippi and Alabama are among others.

But states like Tennessee recently jumped on board in hopes of raising money for education.

Halter thinks the same way.

"Job opportunities and higher income opportunities for Arkansas are going to be dependent of us having a larger and larger workforce that is appropriately trained for jobs of the 21st century. This is a mechanism to do that," said Halter.

But will his idea be met with opposition?

ASU political professor, Patrick Stewart says it could be seen two ways.

"The tenure will be, there's gambling all around the state, but also there are going to be people opposed to it because it is a sin of sorts--gambling," said Stewart.

But with millions of dollars that it could raise for education, is the lottery the perfect solution?

"It works certainly in raising loads of money, but the problem is even if you say it's going to be for education, the levels of educational spending might stay the same and the money that would normally go into education might be shifted into the general fund and spent on other things. It's really a question of, will this really impact education like they say it will," asked Stewart.

The lottery would raise about 100 million a year for college scholarships.

This isn't Halters first attempt at the task.

He also backed a proposed constitutional amendment earlier in the year to create a state lottery.

That proposal died in committee.

The proposed lottery still must be approved by the Attorney General's office and then get 78 thousand signatures before it could be put on the 2008 ballot.

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