Dollars for veterans programs may soon come in the form of lottery tickets.
"This is a great way that we can increase funding for education and help our veterans at the same time-- so it's definitely a win-win," said Rep. Sheila Solon (District 31).
Solon is the sponsor of Amendment Eight, which would create a lottery ticket to benefit veterans. Solon said she has been trying to get the issue to the ballot for four years after learning the Veterans Commission was operating at a deficit.
"The lottery ticket would be one way that we could cover shortfalls for our veterans homes, to help with the upkeep of our veterans' cemeteries, and also to restore full funding for the outreach programs which are so important for our veterans," said Solon.
The way it would work is people would have the option of buying a veterans lottery ticket and the net proceeds from the sales of the tickets would go towards the Veterans Commission Capital Improvement Fund.
"I really don't think it's necessary," said John Dismer, a veteran.
Dismer served in the military for 11 years. The Purple Heart veteran disagrees with the proposal.
"It's going to take away from education, because there's only so many dollars in the lottery system, so you're going to take some of it away," said Dismer. "Now if the education system was real fat and everything, that might be alright. But I don't think it is."
Despite this, Dismer said there's still a need for greater resources for veterans, like more veterans courts and to get homeless vets off the streets. But Dismer believes it needs to be done a different way.
"Lottery is gambling. I'm not against-- I have no feeling one way or another about it," he said. "But it's just not really a smart way to be doing it because you're depending on people giving or donations. I guess, why not have people donate themselves anyway."
Amendment Eight will be on the August ballot.
The price and format of the lottery ticket would be up to the Lottery Commission.
If the amendment passes, people would be able to buy tickets beginning in July of next year.
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