CON: How do you replace $1 billion?

Sonny Long

May 12, 2013 at 12:12 a.m.

For Mike Sizemore, any discussion about the future of the Texas lottery is simple.

"The lottery funds a billion dollars for education each year. How do you replace a billion dollars? Higher taxes? Keep the lottery and don't raise taxes," said Sizemore, owner of Sizemore Media & Consulting in Victoria, which counts Texas Charity Advocates - the charitable bingo industry - among its clients.

The Texas Lottery Commission also regulates charitable bingo.

Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, is a reluctant supporter of HB 2197. She initially voted against the bill before reconsidering and casting her vote in favor during the second vote April 23.

"I have concerns regarding the lottery and the financial impact it has on Texans who choose to purchase tickets," Morrison said. "But I also recognize the fact that the voters of Texas approved the implementation of the lottery.

"In addition, I believe that many Texans have a misconception about the funding the lottery provides to education. It does contribute, but not to the degree that many Texans believe," she said.

Sizemore, who said he personally doesn't take part in the lottery, also sees its existence as a matter of choice.

"I believe each individual has a right to make the decision on whether to gamble or not," he said. "It's a voluntary activity that benefits schools, some participants and taxpayers.

"The lottery is a choice, a freedom that Texans have enjoyed for two decades. It's a choice that has benefited school children and the state."

Debra Thomas, 51, of Port Lavaca, said though she only occasionally plays the lottery, the state should keep it in place.

"It provides an opportunity to help others, depending on how much you win," she said. "You can provide for your family and help your friends.

"If I won big, I'd send money to the state of Israel, help churches and give to organizations that help pets."

PRO: Lottery has failed as revenue source



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