Pat Dye: Lottery alone won’t fill state budget gaps

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Former Auburn head football coach Pat Dye, now President of the Alabama Jobs Foundation, issued a statement Thursday that despite his strong support for a state lottery, that alone is not enough to heal Alabama’s ongoing budget woes.

“We need real long-term solutions for our budget crisis, not short term fixes, cuts to essential state services and hundreds of millions in new taxes that the people of Alabama cannot afford,” said Dye on Thursday. “The real solution is right before our eyes and yet the Alabama Legislature refuses to see: a vote on gaming and a lottery. It is wrong to raises taxes before we give the people of Alabama the right to vote on gaming and a lottery.”

The solution Dye refers to is Sen. Del Marsh‘s gaming plan, which is more thoroughgoing than lottery-only proposals now circulating in the Legislature.

Marsh’s plan would not only reverse Alabama’s position as one of just a few states in that nation with no state lottery, it would eliminate current anti-gambling prohibitions to create a handful of state-sanctioned casinos around the state.

Dye went so far as to say that without more expansive provisions, the AJF – a coalition of leading state industrial and business interests – would withhold its support for a referendum to enact a lottery.

“A lottery and gaming will create $400 million in new revenue, $1.2 billion in economic impact, and create more than 11,000 new jobs, a job total equal to the Alabama auto industry. Job creation is the key to Alabama’s economic future. The Alabama Jobs Foundation will not support a lottery referendum because a lottery alone will not create the jobs or economic impact we need to fix our long term budget problems,” said Dye.

Dye had previously called for a vote on a referendum on a more expansive gaming program, citing a poll which indicated high levels of support among Alabama voters.

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