P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 1997
AUSTIN - The Texas Senate today passed a bill by Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, which would ensure that state lottery revenues are dedicated to public schools. Senate Bill 105 directs lottery profits to the state's Foundation School Fund which is used only for K-12 education.
"Texans approved the lottery after being told repeatedly that the money would help education. Citizens want lawmakers to keep that implied promise. Senate Bill 105 makes it happen," Nelson commented.
Early versions of the bill which created the state lottery dedicated revenue to the public schools. Although this provision was eventually removed from the bill which finally passed in 1991, proponents continued to make statements which linked the lottery to education funding. In a February committee hearing, Senator Nelson cited newspaper clippings from 1991 which tied lottery to education.
Legislators and lottery officials note that they are frequently asked why lottery funds are not dedicated to education. A Dallas Morning News poll indicated that 87 percent of Texans support lottery dedication.
"It is clearly the will of the people that these funds be dedicated to our public schools," Senator Nelson said. "We are always being asked why they are not. Senate Bill 105 is our answer."
Amendments, which Senator Nelson resisted, were added to the bill on the Senate Floor. "While I support the programs addressed in these amendments, I was hoping to keep this bill as clean and straightforward as possible. It has to go through the House so it's still a work in progress. But even as it stands now it meets the goal of putting lottery money to education."
Nelson, who has championed this issue throughout the session, noted that similar provisions have been included in both Senate and House versions of the tax reform bill. With the tax bill's ultimate fate still uncertain, she said Senate Bill 105 was "an insurance policy" to guarantee that the funds would be dedicated.