Legislative budget writers held their annual budget hearing on the Idaho state lottery this morning, and several new members of the committee had questions about how much of the lottery’s proceeds go to schools. Lottery Director Jeff Anderson said last year, about 22 cents of every dollar that came into the lottery went to the net-profits dividend that the lottery returned to the state. Of that dividend, 5/8 went to schools, including a portion to the bond levy equalization fund; and the rest went to the state’s Permanent Building Fund. The latest dividend is a record, Anderson said, at $49.5 million. “We are forecasting less for the current year,” Anderson said. Last year’s sales were unusually high due to a $1.56 billion Powerball jackpot, he said, “which created tremendous interest in the game, particularly from people who don’t normally play.” For the current year, the lottery is forecasting a $48.2 million dividend.
Gov. Butch Otter is recommending a 4.9 percent increase in the lottery’s budget for next year; it receives no state tax funds, operating solely on its own proceeds. The budget proposal includes adding a POST-certified detective and a marketing project manager; the lottery’s staffing level would remain at the same level it had when it opened in 1989. This year, Idaho schools are getting $18.6 million for the school buildings fund and $13.4 million for bond levy equalization from the lottery; the Permanent Building Fund is getting $18.6 million.