JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Lottery has no strategy to generate an additional $35 million that legislative budget writers and Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration had hoped would help avoid cuts to government services, a lottery official said Tuesday.
The Lottery, which transferred a record $280 million to public schools during the recently concluded fiscal year, wants to generate nearly $289 million for education during the fiscal year that began July 1, Lottery spokesman Gary Gonder told The Associated Press.
That would be an increase of a little more than 3 percent. But it would fall far short of the $324 million in Lottery proceeds that had been projected by budget analysts for the Legislature and governor.
Budget writers had hoped an extra $35 million in lottery proceeds could supplant general revenues intended for education, freeing up money to avoid cuts in other areas.
A nearly $289 million target “is an aggressive goal, to be honest with you,” said Gonder, the chief operating officer for sales, marketing and communications at the Missouri Lottery. “We’re going to do everything we can to reach that goal and to surpass it.”
But he acknowledged that the Lottery has no particular strategy for hitting the high mark.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer said Tuesday that legislators had received assurances earlier this year that the Lottery would be able to reach the higher figure.
“I’m still under the belief that they’re going to deliver on those numbers,” said Schaefer, R-Columbia. “Obviously if they don’t, we’ll have to re-evaluate some funding issues.”