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Report Finds Pa. Seniors and Taxpayers Benefit in Improved Lottery System

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Senior citizens may experience cuts to social services and taxpayers incur tax hikes should state officials balk at a new and improved Pennsylvania Lottery contract, finds a Commonwealth Foundation policy report released today.

Though the Pennsylvania Lottery generates $1 billion annually for high-demand senior programs such as property tax rebates, prescription drug programs and senior centers, demand for these services is quickly outpacing Lottery revenues.  More than 5,000 older Pennsylvanians are already on a waiting list to receive program benefits and the imbalance will worsen as Pennsylvania's senior population continues to grow. 

"From the greatest generation to the latest generation, our senior citizens have sacrificed to make Pennsylvania safe and prosperous," said Matthew J. Brouillette, CF president and CEO.  "This well-vetted commitment will give Pennsylvania seniors greater security and taxpayers a more reliable return on their investment."

Analysts found that historically, Pennsylvania Lottery profits have been unpredictable.  Over the past five years, Pennsylvania's returns ranged from a decline of 2.2 percent to a growth of 4.9 percent.  A study by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee also found the Lottery missed budgeted sales in four of the last eight years.

Under the improved plan, seniors and taxpayers are guaranteed 20 years of profit growth and a minimum of $34 billion in Lottery profits, billions more for senior programs than projected returns from the current system.  Moreover, at least 95 percent of the returns would go directly to fund senior programs with job creation and increased state tax revenue included.

"The guaranteed $34 billion in Lottery profits is no gamble," said Brouillette.  "This pact will ensure we don't push seniors and working Pennsylvanians over the impending 'Lottery Cliff.'"

To view the report: http://www.commonwealthfoundation.org/research/detail/protecting-seniors-and-taxpayers-from-the-lottery-cliff; to interview a policy analyst, please contact Jay Ostrich, director of public affairs at 717-649-6547 or [email protected].  The Commonwealth Foundation crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.

SOURCE Commonwealth Foundation

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