Lottery sleight of hand


In her Dec. 9 letter, 25 years of winners in Florida, Cynthia O’Connell, secretary of the Florida Lottery, boasts that the lottery now provides $255 million in prizes to players and $21 million in bonuses to retailers each month and $26 billion for education since 1988.

First, since payouts average 70 percent of wagers, she is saying that $364 million is collected from bettors each month, $109 million of which they never recover. Second, even with the lottery, Florida’s spending on education has declined from 32.6 percent of the budget in FY 1988-1989 to 28.5 percent in FY 2009-2010, even with lottery funds included. That represents a $5 billion reduction in education in just one year.

The lottery has done nothing for education, except give the Florida Legislature a facade behind which to hide a 25-year history of cutting education funding. As the Herald correctly notes in the same issue, Gov. Scott and the Legislature have funneled millions of dollars in taxpayer revenues to out-of-state companies that could have been spent on our schools. Pretending to add lottery funds to Florida education while reducing education funding overall is nothing but political sleight of hand.

James L. Wilson, Plantation

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • The readers’ forum

    Moving toward using less gas in the future

    Re Carl Hiaasen’s July 20 column Taxpayers: Prepare to be railroaded: I question how much Hiaasen understands environmentalism, urban economies, and basic principles of livability and sustainability. Every time the Metropolitan Planning Organization and FDOT has built another billion dollar highway interchange or other heavily subsidized project that benefits the automobile, Hiaasen has been silent. But now he protests a mostly private venture, All Aboard Florida, that will revitalize rail on an existing corridor? Does he not understand that without this very rail corridor, there would be no cities, towns, and villages in Florida? Right now, we are staring at the combined threats of fossil fuel depletion and the need to address climate change. If civilization is to continue in Florida, the revival of passenger rail at all scales — commuter rail, street cars, and intercity — will be necessary.

  • No more cement

    I was born in Cuba. I was a Pedro Pan. A Cuban museum in Miami would have relevance and utmost merit as long as it was comprehensive, including all the other satellites scattered around the city. And, it should definitely not be on Parcel B, which should be green space.

  • Build workforce

    While job growth has remained lackluster, the construction industry faces a shortage of qualified workers that threatens the future of the industry — up to 1.6 million workers by 2022.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category