A couple of weeks ago while filling up the gas tank on my truck, I bought $10 worth of lottery tickets. When I scratched one of them off the prize revealed was $15. Woohoo, winner, winner, chicken dinner!
The next day, while I was at the counter cashing in, a smart aleck gentleman, with an 18-pack of Michelob Ultra, in line behind me, in a smart aleck kind of way, asked, “you ever win anything on those things?”
I said “fifteen dollars” and held up the ticket and locked eyes with him as he shook his head, smirked, chuckled, and kind of rolled his eyes as I walked away. I suppose that in those rolled eyes alcohol is okay but gambling, um, is a sin.
Earlier this month we reported on the Highway 80 paving project through Morton. That $1.2 million project was funded entirely with Mississippi Lottery money. Last week while traveling from Scott to Rankin County I saw an old dirt road, that’s been an old dirt road as long as it has been a road, getting a brand new layer of asphalt.
Again, Mississippi Lottery Money. Not a penny of that beer money went to those roads!
Last week with all the rain from the tropical systems, the dirt road I live on, Pine Grove Rd., was a disaster. It has a fair amount of local traffic, and a whole lot of commercial traffic in the form of chicken trucks, feed trucks, and the like. Fortunately we are the first house on the road after turning off of Highway 21, but still, I sure wish we could get some Mississippi Lottery money on that road.
Last week, the Mississippi Lottery Corporation completed its August transfer of just over $13,057,478 in net proceeds to the Lottery Proceeds Fund in the Mississippi State Treasury. That transfer brought the approximate Fiscal Year 2022 (two months in) net proceeds total to $21,903,717. That’s in millions, y’all, a pretty hefty chunk of change.
According to information on the Mississippi Lottery Corporation’s website, “the Mississippi Lottery is set up to benefit both the infrastructure and education systems of Mississippi. Net proceeds up to $80 million generated by the Alyce G. Clarke Mississippi Lottery Law will be paid into the State Highway Fund until June 30, 2028. The State Highway Fund will repair, renovate and maintain highways and bridges of the state. All monies deposited into the Lottery Proceeds Fund over $80 million dollars in a fiscal year will be transferred into the Education Enhancement Fund. From and after July 1, 2028, the net proceeds will continue to be deposited into the Lottery Proceeds Fund and shall be transferred to the State General Fund, except for the amounts over $80 million dollars, which will continue to be deposited in the Education Enhancement Fund.”
Why our legislators, in all their wisdom, didn’t set the lottery fund up to benefit roads and bridges — infrastructure — into perpetuity, I don’t know because those roads and bridges will wear out into perpetuity, but perhaps they will revisit that in 2028.
Once again, for the record, the lottery is legal in Mississippi. Scratch-offs, Powerball, Match 5, and all those other games of chance that are available at the convenience store checkout counters are all legal. Whether one chooses to play or not, they are legal.
Do I think they probably are a detriment to the poor? Probably so. But, still, they are legal, and just like that beer, they are here to stay. So, here’s a tip. Don’t be a smart aleck and try to shame me or anyone else at the checkout stand.
What I should have said to that fellow at the convenience store a couple of weeks ago, was “no, never won a thing, I’m just trying to help get our muddy ole road paved. Does that beer give you a hangover?!” And rolled my eyes, and shook my head, and smirked, and chuckled, and walked away!
I’m going to remember that next time. Oh, sure, there’ll be a next time, and by the way, I buy beer on occasion too.