Missouri Veterans Lottery Ticket, Amendment 8 (August 2014)

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Amendment 8
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Missouri Constitution
Referred by:Missouri State Legislature
Topic:Lottery
Status:Defeated Defeatedd
2014 measures
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August 5
Amendment 1 Approveda
Amendment 5 Approveda
Amendment 7 Defeatedd
Amendment 8 Defeatedd
Amendment 9 Approveda
November 4
Amendment 2 Approveda
Amendment 3 Defeatedd
Amendment 6 Defeatedd
Amendment 10 Approveda
EndorsementsFull text
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Local measures
The Missouri Veterans Lottery Ticket, Amendment 8 was on the August 5, 2014, primary election ballot in Missouri as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was defeated. Had it been approved by voters, the measure would have allowed for the creation of a new lottery ticket to fund veterans' programs. At the time of the election, four other states - Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Texas - had special lotteries with profits that went solely toward veterans' programs. Had the measure been approved, it would have taken effect no later than July 1, 2015.[1][2][3]

Election results

Below are the certified election results:

Missouri Amendment 8
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No539,51954.99%
Yes 441,520 45.01%

Election results via: Missouri Secretary of State

Text of measure

Ballot title

The ballot language appeared as:

MO 2014 Amendment 8 sample ballot.JPG[4]

The official ballot title and fair ballot language for Amendment 8 were as follows:[5]

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to create a "Veterans Lottery Ticket" and to use the revenue from the sale of these tickets for projects and services related to veterans?

The annual cost or savings to state and local governmental entities is unknown, but likely minimal. If sales of a veterans lottery ticket game decrease existing lottery ticket sales, the profits of which fund education, there could be a small annual shift in funding from education to veterans’ programs.

Fair Ballot Language:

A "yes" vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to create a "Veterans Lottery Ticket." This amendment further provides that the revenue from the sale of these tickets will be used for projects and services related to veterans.

A "no" vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution to create a "Veterans Lottery Ticket."

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes[4]

Constitutional changes

See also: Missouri Veterans Lottery Ticket, Amendment 8 (August 2014), constitutional text changes

If approved, Amendment 8 would have amended Section 39(b) of Article III of the Missouri Constitution.

Background

Missouri Lottery logo

Veterans & direct democracy

Amendment 8 was not the first time veterans issues were subject to direct democracy in Missouri. Absentee voting for soldiers, a soldiers' settlement fund, bonuses for military members and eliminating the conscious objectors clause from the Constitution were all voted upon in the 1920s. In 1948, a $400 bonus for honorable service was defeated at the polls. At the time of the 2014 election, the most recent direct democracy measure was a 2010 legislatively-referred constitutional amendment which was approved to provide a property tax exemption for disabled prisoners of war. Missouri voters had never directly voted upon the use of lottery funds for veterans until the 2014 primary election.

Missouri lottery

The Missouri lottery began in 1986. At that time, all the proceeds went into the state general fund. The passage of Amendment 11 in 1992 provided for all net proceeds from the state lottery to be used solely to support public schools, colleges and universities. The measure also allowed the procedure for ticket sales to be changed by law. In 2013, the Missouri Lottery had $1,140,833,158 in sales and $288,804,006 in proceeds. The total proceeds from 1987 through 2013 were $4,585,281,594. Total sales for the same period were $16,185,209,291. For every dollar spent on the Missouri Lottery, approximately 24.5 cents went to public education programs, 64.7 cents to prizes, 4.6 cents to administrative costs and 6.2 cents to retailers in the form of commissions, incentives and bonuses.[6][7]

Education funding shortfalls

Despite 2014 being the fourth consecutive year of record-high revenues for the state lottery, less money was given to education funding from the lottery than the prior year. In 2013, the lottery transferred nearly $289 million of its revenues to education. Despite higher revenues in 2014, only $267 million were transferred for the fiscal year. Governor Jay Nixon (D) called for a comprehensive review of the lottery to ensure it could provide a stable source of funding for schools.[8]

However, 2014 was not the first year that education funding through the lottery did not live up to expectations. In five of the six years leading up to Amendment 8, lottery funding fell short of the amount appropriated for education by the state legislature.[8]

Support

Rep. Solon was the primary sponsor of HJR 48.

Supporters

HRJ 48 sponsors

Organizations

  • Missouri Veterans of Foreign Wars[9]

Arguments

Supporters of the amendment said that it would provide a dedicated funding source for veterans' homes.[10]

The League of Women Voters provided a nonpartisan voters guide for all amendments in Missouri. They included the following argument in favor of Amendment 8:

Proponents say the lottery would help fund the state’s seven veterans homes, which have a waiting list of 1,900 people. They say veterans' lotteries in Illinois, Kansas and Iowa have raised millions of dollars.[4]

League of Women Voters, [11]

The Franklin County Democrats provided summaries and arguments written by Rep. Jeanne Kirkton (D-91) for and against each amendment on the August ballot. She provided the following arguments in favor of Amendment 8:

As World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans age, there is increased need for funding at our state veterans homes and cemeteries.

Missouri also should do more to provide support and services for more recent veterans, including those who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Creating a special veterans lottery ticket will provide a funding source to help Missouri better take care of its military veterans.

The veterans lottery ticket could increase overall lottery revenue since some people who otherwise wouldn’t play the lottery will do so to support veterans.[4]

Rep. Kirkton, [12]

Opposition

Rep. LaFaver

Opponents

Arguments

Rep. LaFaver opposed the bill because of the existing lottery and its lack of contribution to the education system. He said, "The lottery is one of the most inefficient ways that our state government can produce revenue because for every dollar that somebody buys a lottery ticket, only 25 cents actually makes it to a school or veteran home." LaFaver was unopposed to increasing funding for veterans, but said, "Let's advocate for it in the budget. Let's advocate for it through an efficient revenue stream. Let's do that without taking from education."[14][15]

The League of Women Voters provided a nonpartisan voters guide for all amendments in Missouri. They included the following argument in opposition to Amendment 8:

Opponents are concerned that this new lottery will take away ticket sales from the existing state lottery which benefits education. They also say that setting up a special lottery could spur the Legislature to reduce appropriations for veterans programs from other revenue.[4]

League of Women Voters, [11]

The Franklin County Democrats provided summaries and arguments written by Rep. Jeanne Kirkton (D-91) for and against each amendment on the August ballot. She provided the following arguments in opposition to Amendment 8:

When Missouri voters were asked to constitutionally authorize the creation of the state lottery in 1984, they were told the proceeds would help fund public education. That turned out to be only partially true since the revenue went for general state purposes that included education but other things as well.

In 1992, nearly 78 percent of Missouri voters approved another constitutional amendment to mandate that all lottery proceeds be spent only on public education and bind lawmakers to the promise made when the lottery was approved.

Amendment 8 will siphon away money that would otherwise go for public education.

We shouldn’t improve services for military veterans by taking away money from public education. State lawmakers should instead pursue other solutions.

Amendment 8 doesn’t require proceeds from the veterans lottery ticket to be spent on services for veterans. Instead, it merely requires the money to be placed in a certain statutory fund, which lawmakers could later change to allow them to spend the money on anything they wanted.[4]

Rep. Kirkton, [12]

Campaign contributions

The 28th Ward Democrats Campaign Committee was the only committee or political action committee (PAC) to have submitted expenditures on Amendment 8 by the required report eight days prior to the primary election. As of that report, the PAC had received $993.00 in 2014. It had only expended $93.31 in opposition to Amendment 8.[16]

Debating lotteries for state funding

Ed week lottery proceeds for education map.PNG

Using lottery proceeds to fund state programs, especially education, was widely practiced in the United States at the time of the primary election. However, debate surrounded its effectiveness and the use of gambling to fund state programs. As of 2014, about $20 billion of the approximately $70 billion in annual lottery revenues was usually used by states to fund specific causes, like education or veterans. Some argued that increases in lottery revenues served as an important way to maintain service levels when states struggled with other revenues streams, especially when the economy was not performing well. It has been shown that lottery revenues are tied to the state of the economy. During the recession in 2008, at least 22 of the 42 states with lotteries had record lottery sales.[17][18]

However, not everyone agreed with this perspective. Alicia Hansen of the Tax Foundation said of the lottery in a 2005 speech, "it is a tax and should be evaluated as such. When we subject it to the tests of good tax policy, it fails."[19] She further said,

However, despite the lack of a formal definition as a tax by a government agency, lottery “profits” constitute an implicit tax. When state governments removed lottery prohibitions from their constitutions, they did so only for themselves. Seeing lotteries as a potential goldmine for state coffers, they maintained the ban on private lotteries and created for themselves a monopoly and, in effect, a source of tax revenue.[4]

—Alicia Hansen, [19]

In her analysis of lotteries as taxes, Hansen argued that they are not good taxes because lotteries are unnecessarily complex and are not efficient. Hansen and others have argued that lotteries are a form of regressive taxation because people with low-income spend a greater percentage of their income on lotteries than people with higher incomes. Research has shown that lotteries are disproportionately played by people with lower incomes, less education and the unemployed.[19][20][21]

In line with Hansen's speech, many have critiqued how the funds are used for state budgeting purposes. Rather than seeing lottery revenues as additional funding beyond the state's budget, most states have tended to use these funds to replace general funding.[22][23][24] Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post has described this practice saying,

In fact, in state after state, where lotteries send millions of dollars to public education, schools are still starved. Why?

Because instead of using the money as additional funding, legislatures have used the lottery money to pay for the education budget and spent the money that would have been used had there been no lottery cash on other things. Public school budgets, as a result, haven’t gotten a boost because of the lottery funding.[4]

—Valerie Strauss, [23]

Reports and analyses

AP analysis: ballot placement implications

Gov. Nixon's decision to place this measure and four others on the August primary election ballot instead of the November general election ballot could have had political and legal ramifications, according to Associated Press reporter David A. Lieb. For example, it was presumed that Amendment 1 would draw many rural residents to the polls in November. Since, at the time of the election, rural Missouri voters tended to vote for Republicans over Democrats, it could have been a bigger boon to Republican candidates to have those voters come out to the November election, rather than the August primary. Similarly, the lawsuit over Amendment 5 was dismissed, at least in part, due to time constraints that would not have applied if the measure was on the November ballot, instead. Lieb summarized the potential impact of gubernatorial placement of ballot measures on the primary ballot, saying, "a governor who doesn't like a particular ballot measure could diminish its political impact by placing it on the August ballot, but that also could hinder the ability of opponents to challenge it in court."[25]

Read the full analysis here.

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Missouri ballot measures, 2014

Support

  • The Kirksville Daily Express said,
The transportation sales tax issue and veteran’s lottery ticket measures are ones we support, though we wish we didn’t have to. The bottom line is these are critical issues that should have been addressed by the Missouri Legislature, which instead passed a tax cut and punted these poorly funded issues to voters. We’d rather see better and more balanced approaches to both issues, but simply don’t trust that the Legislature can get it done.[4]

Kirksville Daily Express, [26]

  • The Missourian endorsed the measure.[27]

Opposition

  • The West Plains Daily Quill said,
This is another case of the Legislature ducking an issue by allowing it to be put on a ballot to amend the Missouri Constitution. This is not the kind of issue that should be part of a state constitution. It is the kind of project the Legislature should authorize itself. I understand federal matching funds are available to expand veterans programs including building more badly needed long-term nursing facilities. But the Legislature prefers to thumb its nose at the federal government rather than take its money.[4]

—Frank L. Martin, Editor & Publisher, [28]

  • The News Tribune said,
Funding for veterans’ services and projects is laudable, but will the addition of a competing lottery mark a slippery slope? Deserving initiatives abound; what about a lottery to prevent child abuse or assist senior citizens? Missourians amended the constitution to create a Lottery, ostensibly to fund education, then followed up with an amendment to formalize funding. Public education in Missouri, however, is hardly flush with funding. Withholds loom and their release still would not fully fund the state’s formula for distributing aid to public schools. Don’t risk a further drain on education funding.[4]

News Tribune, [29]

  • The Southeast Missourian said,
The Missouri Lottery is not the most effective way to support veterans issues. You may see some of the commercials encouraging people to pay it forward and support education through the Missouri Lottery. This is ludicrous. If someone wants to support education, there are plenty of groups to which to send donations. [...] Why would we expect a veterans lottery ticket to provide funds to our nation's heroes? If you want to support our military, donate to the many good charities that make the difference -- not the lottery.[4]

Southeast Missourian, [30]

  • The Columbia Daily Tribune said,
Even if we agree the homes deserve adequate funding, adding a constitutional requirement for patchwork lottery funding is not good policy. The money is bound to come willy-nilly from general state revenue. Veterans’ homes funding should be part of lucid appropriations policy providing state matching for federal funds, not an easy-sounding one-off shift to the lottery.[4]

—Henry J. Waters, III, editor of Columbia Daily Tribune, [31]

  • The Joplin Globe said,
This question was passed in the same year the Legislature overrode Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax cut for businesses and individuals that the Missouri Budget Project says could cut state revenues by as much as $800 million over the next decade. That $800 million could fund veterans homes many times over. In the same session, legislators voted to cut state sales tax revenues — which could force other state dollars to be stretched even more thin. [...] We don’t think Amendment 8 should be the answer for our graying veterans. Instead, we think thoughtful legislation is the appropriate course of action.[4]

The Joplin Globe

  • The Springfield News-Leader said,
Like the education lottery games, this would allow legislators to say they did something for veterans while avoiding the tough funding decisions needed. We should fund veterans homes, not gamble on them.[4]

—Editorial Board, Springfield News-Leader, [32]

  • The Kansas City Star said,
The entire picture is messed up. Missouri has a responsibility to properly fund services for veterans and also to prepare children for a bright future. It shouldn’t be placing good causes into competition with one another for gambling funds. Creating a new lottery ticket for veterans may siphon money from elementary and secondary education, which currently receives lottery money. It would almost certainly encourage lawmakers to shortchange the veterans in their annual budgets. Missouri legislators should stop giving tax breaks and favors to businesses and special interests and fully fund its veterans homes, schools and other essential services. A “no” vote on Aug. 5 would send that message quite effectively.[4]

The Kansas City Star, [33]

  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said,
Nobody really thinks lottery tickets are going to raise the $50 million it would take to build an eighth home. In fact, nobody knows whether the veterans lottery is going to make much money at all. Right now the state spends $30 million a year on the veterans homes (the rest coming from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs). The state’s money comes from entrance fees to casinos.

In effect, gambling revenues come from regressive taxes paid voluntarily by people with poor math skills. To cut veterans in on the lottery loot, an amendment is needed since the constitution currently directs lottery money, as well as most casino money, to education.

But it’s not like education gets any extra money from lotteries or casinos. The gambling taxes simply mean less money from income and sales taxes has to be directed at schools.[4]

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, [34]

  • The St. Louis American endorsed a "no" vote on Amendment 8.[35]

Other

Missouri Constitution
Flag of Missouri.png
Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIII
  • The Missourian said,
Veterans certainly would buy lottery tickets with revenue dedicated to services to help them. There would be a shift by veterans from buying other lottery tickets so an anticipated drop in those sales could affect other programs, even education, Kander’s office surmises. The shift would be small, his office believes. It is like any other new government program. As long as there is accountability and the revenue is used as intended, this new lottery could help veterans. However, administrative costs would have to have sound oversight.[4]

The Missourian, [36]

  • The Sullivan Journal said,
Not a bad idea, but not much info on how it will work or how much revenue it might collect. The lottery has done nothing to improve test scores in public schools. Maybe our vets can benefit, but it seems like a feel-good measure more than a solution.[4]

Sullivan Journal, [37]

Path to the ballot

See also Amending the Missouri Constitution

At the time of the election, proposed amendments had to be agreed to by a majority of the members of each chamber of the Missouri General Assembly.

On February 13, 2014, the House passed HJR 48 by a vote of 132 to 10.[38] On May 15, 2014, the Senate passed the measure by a vote of 27 to 4, thereby referring it to the ballot.[39]

House vote

February 13, 2014 House vote

Missouri HJR 48 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 132 92.96%
No107.04%

Senate vote

May 15, 2014 Senate vote

Missouri HJR 48 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 27 87.10%
No412.90%

Related measures

MO veterans



MO lottery

See also

BP-Initials-UPDATED.png
Suggest a link

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named HJR48
  2. KOMU.com, "Missourians to Vote on New Veterans Lottery Ticket," May 15, 2014
  3. OzarksFirst.com, "New Lottery Ticket on Missouri Ballot in November," May 23, 2014
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  5. Missouri Secretary of State, "2014 Ballot Measures," accessed July 1, 2014
  6. Missouri Lottery, "Sales and Proceeds History," accessed May 27, 2014
  7. Missouri Lottery, "Where the Money Goes," accessed May 27, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 Associated Press, "Missouri Lottery gave less to education in 2014," July 23, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 PoliticMo, "Missouri to decide on new lottery ticket in August," July 22, 2014
  10. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Missourians to vote on new veterans lottery ticket," May 15, 2014 (dead link)
  11. 11.0 11.1 League of Women Voters' Voter Guide, "Constitutional Amendment 8," accessed July 21, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 Franklin County Democrats, "Primary Election Day, August 5th Ballot Measures," July 8, 2014
  13. The Joplin Globe, "Neosho lawmaker stands by ballot proposal on farming," July 16, 2014
  14. Missouri Digital News, " Lawmakers propose new lottery ticket for veterans," February 12, 2014
  15. Missouri Digital News, "House bill would create new lottery ticket," February 12, 2014
  16. Missouri Ethics Commission, "Committee Exp for Ballot Measures Search," accessed July 28, 2014
  17. Associated Press, "How lottery tickets are helping states' budgets," February 23, 2014
  18. New York Times, "Sweet Dreams in Hard Times Add to Lottery Sales," September 12, 2008
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Tax Foundation, "State-Run Lotteries as a Form of Taxation," October 8, 2005
  20. Think Progress, "How Lotteries Are Bad For Players, Winners, And States," May 20, 2013
  21. Business Insider, "18 Signs That The Lottery Is Preying On America's Poor," April 6, 2012
  22. Tuition.io, "Gambling with Our Future: Why the Lottery Is Failing Education," March 5, 2013
  23. 23.0 23.1 The Washington Post, "Mega Millions: Do lotteries really benefit public schools?" March 30, 2013
  24. New York Times, "For Schools, Lottery Payoffs Fall Short of Promises," October 7, 2007
  25. Associated Press, "Analysis: Timing of elections can have political, legal effects for Missouri ballot measures," July 6, 2014
  26. Kirksville Daily Express, "Our View: How we're voting in the primary," August 3, 2014
  27. The Missourian, "The Amendments," August 2, 2014
  28. West Plains Daily Quill, "Amendment 8 insults veterans," August 1, 2014
  29. News Tribune, "Our Opinion: Reject Lottery competition, despite worthy aims," July 30, 2014
  30. Southeast Missourian, "Editorial: Our take on August ballot issues," July 27, 2014
  31. Columbia Daily Tribune, "Amendments: Cluttering the Constitution," July 27, 2014
  32. Springfield News-Leader, "Our Voice: We consider ballot issues," July 22, 2014
  33. The Kansas City Star, "Missouri voters on Aug. 5 should scratch lottery plan," June 27, 2014
  34. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Editorial: The collateral damage of Missouri's race to the bottom," July 14, 2014
  35. St. Louis American, "St. Louis American endorses Charlie Dooley for county executive, other election endorsements," July 31, 2014
  36. The Missourian, "Veterans Lottery," June 25, 2014
  37. Sullivan Journal, "Say "No" to Amendment 7 and Amendment 1 Right To Farm," August 3, 2014
  38. JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE, "Second Regular Session, 97th GENERAL ASSEMBLY," February 13, 2014
  39. OpenStates.org, "Senate Vote on HJR 48 (May 15, 2014)," accessed May 26, 2014