Lottery to send over $35 million to education for FY 2021.
The Mississippi Lottery Corporation has announced a surplus of revenue for the fiscal year over the initial appropriation of $80 million. The additional funds will now go to education through the month of June 2021.
The Mississippi Legislature first passed the lottery in 2018. They requested that the first $80 million in proceeds for each fiscal year go to infrastructure improvements across the state. This includes roads and bridges. Lawmakers then said that any surplus over that amount would be funneled into education.
They have recently initiated a transfer that would put their fiscal year earnings at $115 million. So far, education will receive $35 million. However, that number could increase before the new fiscal year begins on July 1, 2021.
The lottery’s most recent transfer announcement was in March, with a transfer of $16.7 million to the Mississippi State Treasury. That put the total transfer for FY 2021 at $101.7 million. This was the first full month transfer from the Alyce G. Clarke Mississippi Lottery law to go strictly to education.
“This is the first monthly transfer fully directed to fund education,” said MLC President Tom Shaheen. “We at the lottery are thrilled this milestone was reached only nine months into our first full fiscal year of operation. This is truly a great day for Mississippians.”
State Senator Dennis DeBar, Chairman of Education, said legislators had anticipated about $35 million additional to education. When deciding budgets this year, they took that into account and utilized $25 million to fund other needs, such as the Early Learning Collaboratives, Teacher Supply Fund, the Winter-Reed Loan Repayment Program and the teacher pay raise.
Lawmakers held back on $10 million of those funds because at the time Alabama was considering a lottery and legislators were unsure as to the impact on revenue predictions in Mississippi if its neighbor entered the game.
Seeing now that there could be even more funds than anticipated is always a good thing especially for education, DeBar said.
“I’m all for it. It’s been good for Mississippi. The more money the better,” said Senator DeBar. “It is definitely doing what it was intended to do. I’m hoping we can keep that revenue coming.”
“When we passed the bill we knew infrastructure was at a crisis point – that is why the first $80m was devoted to infrastructure. However, we also felt it important that any overage be devoted to education. We think that is the right place for the excess to be spent,” said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn.