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Bill dedicates lottery funds to economic development

A bill to ensure lottery dollars are directed to economic development efforts passed the Oregon House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 22, and moves on to the Senate for consideration.

Supported by Matt Wand, R-Troutdale, Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, and Rep. Patrick Sheehan, R-Clackamas, House Bill 3188 directs counties receiving Oregon Lottery revenue to channel the proceeds to a fund specifically dedicated for economic development purposes.

Some counties, including Multnomah, typically add lottery revenue to its general fund, where it is frequently diverted to needs and projects not directly related to economic development. There is no current mechanism for tracking how the proceeds are actually being spent.

'Dedicated lottery funds are intended to help counties create jobs, but in Multnomah County, the revenue is consistently spent on other things,' Wand said. 'These funds shouldn't be treated as another revenue stream for county government.

'(The bill) ensures the money is spent on economic development and job creation,' he added, 'because these resources are desperately needed in East County.'

HB 3188 requires that lottery revenues be placed into a dedicated economic development fund separate from a county's general fund. The bill further instructs counties to report how the money has been spent on the state's Transparency in Government website (oregon.gov/transparency/).

'This bill increases transparency and accountability in state and county governments, and allows our neighbors to see how their money is being spent,' Wand said. 'Most importantly, it helps ensure these lottery funds are used to help put Oregonians back to work.'