Lottery has more pros than cons

Published 4:24 pm Saturday, May 20, 2017

There’s one thing that Oxford’s Democratic State Representative Jay Hughes and Mississippi’s Republican Governor Phil Bryant agree on: Mississippi needs a lottery to help solve its revenue woes.

And we happen to agree with them both.

We’ve never been a big fan of the state lottery because it cannot help but be a tax for many poorer residents who certainly cannot afford tickets of chance, with low odds of winning big.

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But when we remember that the lottery is optional, and when we remember that Mississippi already has casino gambling, with nickel and quarter slot machines from one end of the state to the other, then we are reminded that it may be time to get with the game.

Simply, Mississippi needs a revenue boost so why not, since we are already a gaming state?

Where Gov. Bryant and Rep. Hughes go in different directions is on how lottery funds should be used. Gov. Bryant would want lottery money to build state roads and bridges. There’s no denying we need a roads and bridges funding solution. Our infrastructure is way behind.

But we agree with Rep. Hughes that education should be the only place lottery funds go if the state were ever to enact one. Investing in the future education of our citizens, including scholarships for high school graduates and funds for adult education, would be an economic boost for Mississippi for years to come.