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Details emerge about Alabama Gov.'s lottery vision

AlabamaAlabama: Details emerge about Alabama Gov.'s lottery vision

BIRMINGHAM, AL — Governor Robert Bentley said money from a possible Alabama lottery would not fund education, but he's still optimistic voters will approve it.

The Governor provided some details about his plans for this month's special session at a visit to local media outlet WBRC. He's hoping legislators will green light a November ballot initiative, giving Alabama voters another chance to approve a statewide lottery. A similar measure was voted down in 1999. Bentley admitted he was among those who voted against the lottery proposed by then-Governor Don Siegelman.

"Times are different," said Bentley. "The lottery that we're going to propose is going to be a very clean, constitutional amendment that will have guidelines that the legislature will have to go by. We'll have an oversight commission that will make sure that everything is done correctly."

The governor said the projected $225 million from a lottery will not be earmarked and would go into the General Fund budget. The legislature would have the authority to put the money where it's needed.

"The greatest needs right now are Medicaid, but later on it may not be," said Bentley.

Alabama's Medicaid system faces an $85 million budget shortfall and some cuts to services went in to affect across the state today.

Governor Bentley made the decision in 2013 to not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, thus turning down millions of dollars in federal assistance. WBRC asked him if he still believed this was a wise decision.

"It was the right thing to do because we cannot even afford what we have right now," said Bentley. "That would not have changed our overall system and our overall system is a bare bones system."

The governor, however, did admit that some Alabamians would have benefited from the federal assistance.

"All that money would have gone for was the working poor," he said. "Now, would it help those and did we lose that battle in court? Yes, and down the road we may look at that, but now we can't look at that."

The governor's plan to deliver Medicaid included setting up regional care organizations across the state, however those cannot be fully implemented until the state's Medicaid budget is shored up. The governor negotiated $748 million to set up the regional care organizations. He said a possible lottery could be the source of revenue to avoid losses before the systems get off the ground.

If voters approve the lottery, money wouldn't start coming in until 2018. Governor Bentley said he's looking at other avenues to close the budget gap in 2017, including money from the BP settlement. In the meantime, he's hoping those who campaigned against the state lottery in 1999, including many church leaders, will have a change of heart.

"I have prayed about this, I have agonized over this myself," said Bentley.

"The Bible doesn't talk about lotteries, but it does talk about whether or not we take care of the poor. All I'm asking them is in their hearts, which is worse: someone going and using their own money that they earned and buying a lottery ticket or us not properly funding and taking care of children that are dying in the state? So, that's what they need to think of," he concluded.

WBRC, Lottery Post Staff

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11 comments. Last comment 4 months ago by Drivedabizness.
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TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
Brooklyn, NY
United States
Member #169723
October 29, 2015
877 Posts
Posted: August 3, 2016, 9:50 am - IP Logged

He didn't mention the people who are probably going to neighboring states that already have a lottery. They are already spending their money there when they could be spending their money in Alabama and doing good at home.

The Meatman

“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

    United States
    Member #163189
    January 22, 2015
    674 Posts
    Posted: August 3, 2016, 9:51 am - IP Logged

    'turns down millions from the feds' and basically saying let's have our citizens fund things we need in Alabama through a voluntary tax--the lottery. 

    Maybe folks there aren't so ignorant and will vote it down again.

    Me--hoping they approve it just to help boost all of our jackpots though they seem to climb slower and slower IMO>

      LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
      Green Bay
      United States
      Member #169391
      October 15, 2015
      1245 Posts
      Posted: August 3, 2016, 10:14 am - IP Logged

      Looks like Alabama could sure use that lottery revenue.

      Never give up.  Banana

        music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
        Happy California
        United States
        Member #157856
        August 2, 2014
        1517 Posts
        Posted: August 3, 2016, 10:55 am - IP Logged

        It is not so easy being a Governor. Gordian knots must be cut with the sword taken from the large stone.

         The wisdom of Solomon is needed here.


         I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

         Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

          noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
          Bay Area - California
          United States
          Member #136477
          December 12, 2012
          4108 Posts
          Posted: August 3, 2016, 12:29 pm - IP Logged

          "Would not fund education"- by that remark l gather that their educational system has a A plus rating.

          People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

            helpmewin's avatar - dandy
            United States
            Member #106665
            February 22, 2011
            19840 Posts
            Posted: August 3, 2016, 1:09 pm - IP Logged

            "Would not fund education"- by that remark l gather that their educational system has a A plus rating.


            you could fill in the Blank. LOL

            Let it Snow Snowman

              helpmewin's avatar - dandy
              United States
              Member #106665
              February 22, 2011
              19840 Posts
              Posted: August 3, 2016, 1:11 pm - IP Logged

              Don't forget to VOTE people.

              Good Luck Alabama US Flag

              Let it Snow Snowman

                zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
                South Carolina
                United States
                Member #77167
                July 15, 2009
                555 Posts
                Posted: August 3, 2016, 2:56 pm - IP Logged

                Another red state that did not expand medicaid.  Putting lottery proceeds in the general fund allows it to be used for anything. Good luck with the lottery.


                  United States
                  Member #128373
                  May 22, 2012
                  201 Posts
                  Posted: August 4, 2016, 6:20 pm - IP Logged

                  I have a bad feeling that it won't pass because not every Alabamian is not gonna be down with the proceeds to pay Alabama's bills. It needs to go to education like Georgia's does. That will pass in a heartbeat.

                  The lottery is NOT a tax on the poor.  By calling it a tax, you are calling it mandatory, which is what taxes are.  But the lottery is NOT mandatory, therefore calling it a tax highly inaccurate.

                    Enterprise, Alabama
                    United States
                    Member #3796
                    February 21, 2004
                    20 Posts
                    Posted: August 4, 2016, 10:49 pm - IP Logged

                    I've written letters to my state representative and state senator, encouraging them to support the lottery. 

                    Among other things, I told them to have no RNG drawings, winners should have the ability to collect lottery winnings anonymously (to my knowledge, no state in the South does that with their lottery,) and to use the money for the state's most pressing needs.

                    Hope something good comes out of the special session beginning on August 15th.

                      Northern California
                      United States
                      Member #19948
                      August 9, 2005
                      151 Posts
                      Posted: August 10, 2016, 6:55 pm - IP Logged

                      someone please ask the Governor how the Lord allocated the parcels in the Promised Land....



                      That's right - hence the term "lottery"