House Bill 304 — Idaho State Lottery Appropriation

House Bill 304 — Idaho State Lottery Appropriation

by
Fred Birnbaum
March 8, 2021
Fred Birnbaum
March 8, 2021

The Idaho Spending Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add some important context to lawmakers’ discussions as the spending bills are considered on the House and Senate floors. As we look at the budget, we consider the following issues:

Does the agency requesting these funds serve a proper role of government? Has wasteful or duplicative spending been identified within the agency, and if so, has that spending been eliminated or corrected? Have budget-writers reviewed existing outlays to look for opportunities to contain spending, e.g., through a base reduction? If there is a maintenance budget, is that maintenance budget appropriate? Are the line items appropriate in type and size, and are they absolutely necessary for serving the public? Does the budget contemplate adding new employees or programs? Does the appropriation increase dependency on the federal government?

Our analysis is intended to provide lawmakers and their constituents with a frame of reference for conservative budgeting, by summarizing whether appropriation measures contain items that are truly  objectionable or legitimate and worthy of support.


Bill Description: Idaho State Lottery, FY22 Appropriation

Rating: -1

The actual changes in expenditures for this budget are not the core issue.

The Idaho State Lottery is three decades old but the problems with the establishment and running of a government gambling operation are no different today than when the first lottery ticket was sold in Idaho in 1989. 

The government simply shouldn’t be in the lottery business. In addition to being a tax on the poorest, who hope that a winning ticket will solve their financial problems, it is also widely understood to be a tax on people whose hopes lead them to conclude that they may be lucky enough to “strike it rich” even though the odds don’t favor such an outcome. The Lottery’s business model requires people who cannot afford tickets to purchase them, making it highly dubious public policy. 

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