Revenue in our State is needed as badly as pothole filling. The legislature faced with trying to find funds to restore “people” services in its recent special session had to move money from one account to another. No one can argue about funding badly needed social services.
Beyond that Phil Kabler, Statehouse Reporter for The Charleston Gazette, reported last week that Lottery revenues are expected to be down about $100 million from 2012-13 and some $360 million below the Lottery’s record revenue of $1.56 billion in 2006-07. The report said Lottery is expected to have had about $1.2 billion of revenue for the current fiscal year which ends June 30.
The time has come to look at new ideas to generate revenue without putting an additional burden on state taxpayers. I wrote about this in February and offered what I am certain are controversial ideas related to gambling. Here is a link if you did not read my February blog.
The beauty about new ideas to generate money from internet gaming, taxing Advance Deposit Wagering, offering Instant Racing and other ideas is most funds – reaching our state coffers – will come from out of state or around the world. That could be a road map to avoid a tax increase on our citizens, which could surely come if revenue from outside our boarders is not tapped.
Remember the huge money that came into West Virginia after the Lottery was established and casinos were built? Yes, that is drying up because of competition from nearby states. Well only three states now offer internet gaming.
With Lottery revenue continuing to decline it could be assumed they have a “think tank” looking at new revenue generating programs brought on by the growth of technology in their industry. Likely the operating casinos and the state’s horseman are doing the same thing. Let’s get the ideas from these organizations, our citizens, state officials and others on the table now. Work should begin on these and other ideas long before the 2015 legislative session.