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No Lottery for Mississippi

Mar 10, 2004, 4:28 am

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Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: No Lottery for Mississippi

Mississippi lawmakers refused to take a chance on a proposed state lottery to help fund education.

House Bill 1064 was among hundreds of proposals that died Tuesday, the deadline for passing bills out of committees.

On the other hand, lawmakers are willing to back a pay hike for county officials but at the counties' expense. A pay hike bill was among those surviving Tuesday's deadline.

Midway through the four-month session, there have been more than 2,600 bills filed in both chambers. There were 1,646 bills filed in the House and 1,080 in the Senate.

State Rep. Alyce Clarke, D-Jackson, said she had hoped the lottery bill she sponsored would have survived.

"It makes more sense to leave the money in our state rather than take it some place," Clarke said. "Regardless of what other people say all of us know if you go across the Louisiana line, 95 percent of those cars you see over there are going to have Mississippi tags. It just doesn't make sense to me to take to other states."

House Bill 1064 was patterned after Georgia's lottery legislation and would have provided education scholarships for students who maintained a B average.

House Gaming Committee Chairman Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, said it's not known how much a Mississippi lottery would generate or how much would be required for administrative costs.

Olive Branch resident Susanne Reed, said Mississippi should have a lottery like Tennessee. " I've got a lot of friends that are playing," said Reed, who lives five minutes from the Tennessee border.

The lottery bill was doomed by strong opposition from Gov. Haley Barbour, Lt. Gov Amy Tuck, House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, the casino industry and Mississippi church leaders, lawmakers said.

Another victim of Tuesday's deadline was a House bill to enhance retirement benefits for lawmakers and other public officials. "The retirement bill is not going anywhere,'' McCoy said.

Surviving the deadline is a bill that would raise pay for sheriffs, supervisors, justice court judges and other local officials.

By a voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday endorsed the proposal that now goes to the full House. The Senate has its own version of House Bill 1429.

The proposal requires counties to pick up the tab. In Hinds County alone, the raises would cost $500,000. Sheriffs and other county officials received their last raise eight years ago.

"The cost of living has not gone down the last eight years,'' said Rep. Rufus Straughter, D-Belzoni. "If we expect good public officials, they deserve to be compensated for their work."

The House bill provides for minimum salaries of $65,000 for sheriffs, who now earn $42,000 in some rural counties.

Raises for other county officials would be as high as 20 percent.

Jackson Clarion Ledger

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1 comment. Last comment 16 years ago by weshar75.
Page 1 of 1
weshar75's avatar - Lottery-042.jpg
Mcminnville, Oregon
United States
Member #3013
December 13, 2003
4681 Posts
Posted: March 10, 2004, 6:34 pm - IP Logged

I wonder if their is gaming in Mississippi such as horse or dog tracks or bingo halls or tribal casinos.  I guess this is another example of a state thats is busy lining public officials pockets at the expense of the tax payer.  Instead of creating a lottery to make the schools better for the kids.  Choice?  Choose to buy a lottery ticket or let your county or state raise your taxes!  I would choose the lottery ticket because you don't have to buy the lottery ticket but taxes never go away.