Will the Louisiana Lottery face competition?

It has been a banner year for the Louisiana Lottery, with record profits being reported a major accolades being doled out for its leadership.

President Rose Hudson announced last month that the most recent fiscal year resulted in all-time high of $508 million in revenue. That’s $13.6 million more than the previous record in 1993, when the lottery was the only legalized form of gaming in Louisiana.

Per statute, at least 35 percent of all lottery sales are transferred to the state treasury, the highest mandated transfer percentage in the nation.Hudson will also be inducted into the Lottery Industry Hall of Fame next month.

With those bright spots, no one wants to think about competition. Although it could be coming.

With expectations of raising $160 million annually there, Mississippi lawmakers came very close to creating a lottery in their most recent session, but the needed provision was removed from a bill during the conference process.

Potential candidates for Mississippi governor, however, are already hinting that a lottery will be a part of their 2019 platforms. There are also three more legislative sessions in Mississippi to go before that 2019 election.

How big of dent that would put on the Louisiana Lottery is unknown, although jackpots that are tracked geographically point to at least 5 percent in sales going to Mississippi residents. That number would probably be higher if the smaller wins were included.Senate debates lined upThe leading candidates in the U.S. Senate race are slated for a televised debate in less than a month.

Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for A Better Louisiana have scheduled its regular candidate forum for Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. It will broadcast live from the campus of Louisiana Tech in Ruston and will be hosted by CABL President Barry Erwin and LPB President Beth Courtney.

With 24 candidates running, it’ll be interesting to see who makes the stage and which guidelines were used for inclusion.

There’s at least one other televised debate already on the books. It’ll take place Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Baton Rouge and is being hosted by Raycom Media (WVUE-TV New Orleans, WAFB-TV Baton Rouge, KSLA-TV Shreveport and KPLC-TV Lake Charles).

To participate candidates must be polling at at 5 percent or higher in a survey that will be commissioned by Raycom Media. In the event of a runoff, a second debate will take place on Thursday, Dec. 8, in Baton Rouge.Candidate can’t drop outWhile there might be chatter about this candidate or that candidate dropping out in races all around the state, it’s not going to happen.

A new law took effect this year that limits the time period for candidates to withdraw from races. That deadline was July 29.

The prior law, which few had even realized was removed from the books on Jan. 1, allowed for candidates to drop out at any time, through the closing of polls on the day of the election.

The Secretary of State’s Office faced a major challenge with this in 2014, when 120 candidates backed out of races.

Notices had to be posted at precincts all over the state and decoding the actual candidate fields was a puzzle for voters.

So there will be no last-minute changes moving forward. In fact, there are already voting machines with complete ballots installed around the state. Solitary confinement bill possibleIn the latest episode of The LaPolitics Report podcast, Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Chairman J.P. Morrell didn’t rule out running for mayor of New Orleans next year. But he also teased a policy proposal he’s working on for the 2017 regular session. It could become a bill that grabs headlines when lawmakers get together again.

“It’s come to my attention working with some of these advocates that there are facilities that do solitary confinement for juveniles, which is kind of unconscionable,” Morrell said.

On the podcast he also discussed his concerns about the House leadership and what kind of tax debates are in store for 2017. State’s taxpayer burden runs highLouisiana has the second highest taxpayer burden in the nation, according to a new report out from Truth in Accounting, a Chicago-based think tank that analyzes government finances.

Louisiana’s tally is $17,400 — this is amount each taxpayer would have to pay in order for the state’s treasury to be debt-free.

When states are ranked regionally, Kentucky taxpayers owe more than anyone else in the Deep South, around $33,700. And Tennessee is the only state in the South with a taxpayer surplus, which is the amount available to pay state bills divided by the state’s taxpayers.

Neighboring states were ranked as follows:— Alabama taxpayer burden: $14,000— Mississippi taxpayer burden: $11,800— Texas taxpayer burden: $7,700— Arkansas taxpayer burden: $1,400 “Even though taxpayer burdens may seem immaterial at the moment, they have serious consequences,” said Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO of TIA. “If the taxpayer burdens for the other states don’t decrease, taxpayers will suffer, whether it’s through higher interest rates, tax increases or fewer government programs.”They Said It“Do we get a toaster?”—Treasurer John Kennedy, on the state’s new short-term loan, at last week’s Bond Commission meeting “By the way, I personally think a taco truck on every corner sounds absolutely delicious.”—Hillary Clinton, responding to Donald Trump’s call to curb immigration, on CNN


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