Governor Phil Bryant may ask lawmakers to consider a state lottery when they return to the capitol for a special session in June. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, a new committee appointed to examine the pros and cons of implementing a lottery in Mississippi will begin meetings this summer.
Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn selected the nine member lottery study committee. It includes five house lawmakers, three Republican, two Democrat. Former legislator, and current Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs will also be on the panel.
"We're to go out and gather all the information we can about the lottery, the impact both economically and socially, and how would it impact the revenue stream of the state budget."
Governor Phil Bryant says he's considering putting the lottery issue on the list for the upcoming special session. Bryant says that would happen only if the state chamber of commerce is on board to use lottery funds to pay for infrastructure improvements. He says he supports having a discussion about a lottery, but he says the composition of the committee is noticeable.
"It is sort of an anti-lottery committee. You all get together and tell us why a lottery won't work, and I'm the Speaker, and I want you to do that. I appreciate the Speaker's position on this. We're continuing to look a the numbers."
The Governor says one estimate from the Department of Revenue predicts a state lottery would generate between $85 to $100 million per year. The Speaker says he does not support a lottery because "its not based on sound economic policy, and goes against conservative, Republican principles."