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Poll: Lottery finds favor for raising revenue in Nevada

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Poll: Lottery finds favor for raising revenue in Nevada

Most Nevadans favor a state lottery as an alternative means of funding education and are happy that state lawmakers didnt impose any more taxes than it did, according to a new statewide poll.

Ninety percent of Democrats, 66 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Independents favored or strongly favored a state lottery, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal/News 4 poll.

Women were more likely than men, 80 percent to 76 percent, to favor a lottery.

People living in Clark County were slightly more apt than Washoe County residents to favor a lottery, 78 percent to 75 percent, the poll found.

The numbers may be inflated a bit, said pollster Del Ali of Research 2000. I think there is support for a state lottery but when you say it would support education, the numbers go up some.

Cindy Bowen, 45, a Reno resident and Hug High School parent who did not take part in the poll, said shed oppose a lottery because she doubts most of it would go toward education.

Coming from California, it hasnt done anything to help the schools because you still have school districts there basically bankrupt, said Bowen, a Republican.

Sparks resident Lynn Warne, 43, who is president of the Washoe Education Association and was not polled, also mentioned Californias woes but said a lottery could be an asset if it complemented state education funds versus replacing them.

If state lottery funds are intended to supplant funds already received, we would not support that, said Warne, a Democrat. If state lottery funds were designed to supplement it, that would be extremely different.

To play or not to play?

California State Lottery spokeswoman Cathy Johnston said 34 percent of revenue from the lottery is put toward education, along with winnings not claimed in 180 days. Fifty-two percent goes back into prizes and the remaining dollars are for operational expenses and retailer bonuses, she said.

Almost $15 billion has gone toward complementing Californias education budget since 1985 and such dollars make up about 2 percent of school district, college and university budgets.

Teri Grandfield, senior vice president and general manager of Rail City Casino in Sparks and who was not polled, said running a lottery such as MegaBucks through casinos might be a good idea. But the Republican said shed oppose competition from the state.

What I do have a problem with is government getting involved in gambling, said Grandfield, 47. They regulate gambling. How would they regulate themselves?

The Washoe County School District has no position on whether a state lottery should be implemented.

There has never been a formal enough proposal at the state level to cause our board to consider it, district spokesman Steve Mulvenon said. Weve never talked about it.

No sales tax

Imposing additional taxes, such as increasing the sales tax, would have been a bad idea, according to 37 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Independents who indicated they were against or strongly against such a proposal. Men were more likely than women 63 percent to 49 percent to oppose additional taxes.

Washoe County residents were less likely than those in Clark County, 60 percent to 49 percent, to suggest the Legislature impose other taxes.

It tells me a sales tax isnt too popular in Nevada, Ali said.

Larry Osborne, chief executive officer of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce, said he also was not surprised by the survey but noted a sales tax would have been an easier, although unpopular, route because consumers would rather have businesses bear extra costs.

In a general poll of most people, it doesnt surprise me, said Osborne, a Republican who wouldnt reveal his age.

Warne said the teachers union wanted more taxes imposed on businesses.

We still support a broad-based business tax and would still like to see one implemented whether it be gross receipts or net profits, Warne said. Theyre demanding a quality work force but not willing to pay for it.

Tony Shulman of Reno, owner of Qs Billiard Club and who was not polled, said he wasnt surprised by the results and rebutted comments and advertisements that circulated during the session indicating businesses werent paying their fare share.

Businesses dont pay their fare share compared to what? I could sit on my couch and pay less taxes but that wouldnt do any good, said Shulman, 35, a Republican. Every new tax will affect my business.

Reno Gazette-Journal

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