Responsible parents would never gamble with their child’s college savings account. Yet that is precisely what the New Mexico Lottery is proposing to do with the Lottery Scholarship, which serves as the college fund for many New Mexico students from low- and middle-income families.
The Lottery is attempting to pass Senate Bill 355, which would eliminate the requirement that a minimum of 30 percent of lottery revenues be dedicated to the scholarship fund. This requirement was enacted in 2007, based on a proposal by Think New Mexico.
Prior to that time, there was no minimum percentage that the lottery had to deliver to the scholarship fund. The lottery was required to dedicate at least 50 percent of revenues to prizes, but once that requirement was met, the Lottery paid its operating costs and sent whatever was left over to the scholarship fund.
As a result, scholarships received an average of only 23.76 percent of lottery revenues a year from 1997 to 2007, and that percentage was projected to decline in future years.
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