State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
State law requires an audit of the Wisconsin Lottery. The nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) has finished its financial review and found that the Wisconsin Lottery fully complied with statutory spending limits pertaining to prizes, advertising, compensating retailers, and operating expenses.
The LAB examined financial statements for fiscal year (FY) 2008-09 and FY 2007-08. Here are some of the LAB’s findings:
During FY 2008-09, there were $473.4 million in lottery ticket sales, constituting a 4.3 percent decline from the prior year, or $21.3 million in sales, primarily due to the economy.
Administrative expenses were $344.5 million during FY 2008-09, 2.5 percent less than during FY 2007-08. Note the decline in administrative costs was lower than the decline in ticket sales. The LAB explains, “Some expenses do not fluctuate with sales. Since FY 2007-08, informational advertising expenses have been permitted to total no more than $7.5 million annually, which is an increase of $2.9 million from prior years.”
The lottery was designed, in part, to provide property tax relief. During FY 2008-09, property tax relief totaled $132.4 million.
Last October, the Department of Administration and the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee appropriated $130.2 million in lottery proceeds for property tax relief during FY 2009-10 with this breakdown:
$115.5 million - the Lottery and Gaming Tax Credit
$14.7 million - the Farmland Tax Relief Credit
Management of the Wisconsin Lottery submitted its own report of its financial performance as part of the audit. Lottery Management writes:
“The conventional wisdom is that lotteries are recession-proof: sales will increase during an economic downturn as people look to change their fortunes overnight. However, the current economic recession has made a myth of the conventional wisdom, as Wisconsin Lottery sales have been affected, although not as much as other sectors of the economy. While not recession-proof, the Wisconsin Lottery appears to be recession-resistant; its sales outlook and its ability to generate funds for property tax relief programs remain strong.”
Once again, I commend the LAB for another outstanding analysis that you can read here.