Lottery funding issue is explained

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services would like to clear up misconceptions about the use of appropriations from the Lottery Trust Fund after news reports claimed the state misappropriated $10 million in education funds.

“There’s nothing illegal about what happened. The board’s finding is a constitutional and statutory requirement to point out the issue,” said Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston L. Doerflinger. “As a result, the Legislature is constitutionally bound to take up the process from here and ensure the $10 million gets appropriated to the Lottery Trust Fund. This needs to be addressed before any appropriations can be made for fiscal year 2018.”

Education received its full allotment of lottery funds. No lottery funds went to the General Revenue Fund. OMES discovered the issue in February and reported as required to the Board of Equalization, which then carried out its constitutional duty. It’s up to the Legislature to next do as is constitutionally required.

Lottery estimates fell by 20.5 percent in FY 2017. The 2016 final appropriations from the Lottery Trust Fund were $65,368,704. FY 2017 estimated appropriations from Lottery Trust Fund were $51,995,017. The difference was a negative  $13,373,687 (-20.5 percent). In February, budget analysts discovered 0.3 percent gap in overall education funding while preparing for the State Board of Equalization meeting. Education funding, other than lottery funding, fell by 0.8 percent in 2017 when compared to FY 2016 allotments.