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Education Funding Takes a Hit as Gambling Revenues Fall Short

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Missouri fiscal year revenue is falling short for river boat gaming and lottery revenues, which could short change the educational foundation formula funding.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Missouri fiscal year revenue is falling short for river boat gaming and lottery revenues, which could short change the educational foundation formula funding.

Lottery and river boat gambling revenues aren't measuring up to last fiscal year.

The shortfall is tens of millions of dollars.

The state budget director says there's time to make it up, but the state can't wait or take any chances with the education funding formula.

“Really, the revenue that we're talking about here, largely we're talking about funding for K-12 schools to the schools to help them pay teacher salaries or other expenses at the local school level,” said State Budget Director Linda Luebbering.

Lottery revenue is falling short for the first part of the fiscal year with a $13 million shortfall.

"So for July through December of 2013, which would be included in the current fiscal year, are actual collections from Lottery for education was 139 million dollars," said Luebbering. "For the same time period last year, that would be July through December of 2012, our collections for those six months were $153 million."

Riverboat gaming is falling short, too, by $22 million.

"And last fiscal year July through December of 2012 the collections were $162 million," said Luebbering.

These shortfalls affect the educational foundation formula.

"The shortfall from lottery,” said Luebbering. “Ultimately we do expect them to have an increase this fiscal year over last fiscal year but the amount appropriated by the legislature is pretty high and aggressive estimate and lottery just doesn't think they can make that estimate. River boat gaming is short for a whole host of reasons apparently there are just some issues with certain boats where they've not been operating really at full capacity due to renovations or sales plus increased competition from other boats."

Luebbering says the governor may have a solution.

"The governor has proposed fixing it so in his supplemental budget the governor is proposing using general revenue to make up for the shortfall,” says Luebbering. “That would have to be approved by the legislature."

As KOLR10 previously reported, Missouri is already losing millions from the tobacco settlement after it was found by a three judge panel that the Missouri failed to "diligently enforce tobacco laws in 2003." That loss is about $70 million and the loss could be annual.

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