Spitzer speech includes proposed lottery changes

Gov. Eliot Spitzer proposed some privatization of the state Lottery in his State of the State addres
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Gov. Eliot Spitzer proposed some privatization of the state Lottery in his State of the State address today.

The governor proposed the measure as a way to fund improvements in the state and New York City university systems.

“We should unlock some of the value of the New York State Lottery, either by taking in private investment or looking at other financing alternatives,” the speech reads. “As we do this, we will assure that the state continues to regulate all Lottery games, and that we continue to receive the more than $2 billion annually for K to 12 education that the Lottery now provides.”

The governor told the Gazette that this will make “no difference” to employees located at the Lottery headquarters in downtown Schenectady.

“It’s going to be good for the Lottery for a hundred different reasons Spitzer said.

Paul Francis, director of state operations, said, “The 350 existing employees of the Lottery will be totally protected.” The state would in essence be leasing the Lottery, Francis said.

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, R-Schenectady, said he was concerned about preserving the downtown jobs. He also said Spitzer appears to be proposing a “one-shot” method of financing that raises concerns about fiscal responsibility.

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