Plan to lease lottery lacks support in Vt Senate

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(Host) The Vermont Senate has sent a clear message to the Douglas Administration: any plan to lease the state lottery to a private company must be approved by the Legislature.

Supporters of the bill say it’s also evident that most lawmakers oppose the leasing approach.

The governor has proposed leasing the lottery with the hope of generating a one time payment of 50 million dollars to the state.  Douglas wants to use the money to lower the statewide education property tax rate and to fund more school construction projects.

Essex Orleans senator Vince Illuzi is the chair of the Senate Economic development committee and is a critic of the leasing plan:

(Illuzzi) "The purpose of voting the bill this week is to send a clear message to Vermonters that after hearing the Administration’s proposal on this issue we have concluded based on testimony and the reaction of Vermonters that this is not a good idea we don’t want to see off what is in essence a state performing asset…which the Wall Street folks now say is not going to be anywhere near fifty million dollars."

(Host) Illuzzi says he feels it would be appropriate to allow the state’s Lottery Commission to consider ways to boost lottery sales – in the past few years overall sales have been relatively flat:

(Illuzzi) "The mantra here and in the private sector is you can always do better. Perhaps it’s time to reexamine our policy about the marketing strategies used by the lottery commission to see if perhaps that are some areas where we can enhance its revenue producing ability."

(HOST) The legislation will come up for final approval in the Senate on Wednesday afternoon and will then be considered by the House.

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