Supporters Predict Measure Could Generate $150M Annually For Education
Oklahoma school officials called State Question 705 a victory for the state's education system Wednesday after voters passed the measure overwhelmingly.
The measure, which establishes a state education lottery, was approved by 64 percent of voters who participated in Tuesday's general election.
According to language in the measure, at least 35 percent the revenue from the new lottery will go directly toward Oklahoma's education system. State Question 706, which also passed Tuesday, creates an education "lockbox" fund to ensure the lottery proceeds are not appropriated for other purposes.
Some state officials estimate that the education lottery will bring in nearly $150 million per year once ticket sales begin. However, state Sen. Kenneth Corn, D-Howe, said it could take some time to put the lottery in place.
"The voters have approved it, they've spoken, and we'll implement the system as the people have approved it," Corn said. "The governor has not made any indications on when he will be making those appointments, so I think everyone is just waiting on the dust to settle on this election so we can move forward."
The measure also stipulates that 45 percent of lottery proceeds must go toward prizes, while 20 percent would go toward lottery "administration" -- including the state's teacher retirement system and gambling addiction courses.
Oklahoma voters also approved State Question 712, which expands tribal gaming and allows electronic games to be installed in state horse tracks. Supporters of that measure say expanded gaming could generate an additional $71 million for education each year,
New revenue from the lottery is expected to flow into the new education trust fund as early as next year, according to the Oklahoma Education Association.
State officials, including Gov. Brad Henry, said it could be up to six months -- and possibly one year -- before all the systems are put in place.