If we must, then lottery should build

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

No sooner than the gavel fell Tuesday at the state capitol marking the beginning of the 2018 Legislature talk also began regarding creation of a state lottery.

The discussion is as predictable this time of year as talk about who will win the college football national championship.

Despite what lottery proponents will say publicly as they try to soften the concern over lotteries, a lottery is a form of gambling, and gambling is never a great solution to fixing economic woes.

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Such state endeavors often have unforeseen side effects.

Sadly, lotteries typically pull money from the poorest residents hoping for a big payday.

Of course, that is not unlike the lawmakers that are lottery proponents. They, too, seek, the windfall they hope will come from a lottery.

We hope state lawmakers will invest more heavily in meaningful ways to build a better Mississippi such as improvements in education and infrastructure by streamlining government costs.

But if this is the year that lottery supporters have their way, we urge, no we beg lawmakers to require lottery proceeds fund something new and something meaningful and not merely shore up our state’s bloated budget.

Could lottery proceeds provide community college education or vocational and technical education for students who do not qualify for scholarships or other financial aid?

Could the money be plowed into economic development resources to equip our state with the best and brightest that can help bring more investment to Mississippi?

Mississippi has numerous needs, but few champions in Jackson willing to step up and lead beyond solving today’s problems. We need to focus on tomorrow for Mississippi to reach its true potential.