Privatization: That's the ticket!

Wisconsin State Roundup

Published May 1, 2005  | May 2005 issue

Lawmakers are considering the possibility of outsourcing much of the administration of the state lottery to private firms.

The plan is intended to save money in a state facing a $1.7 billion budget deficit over the next two years. About half of the 109 people currently employed within the lottery would lose their jobs, at an estimated savings of $1.4 million. However, some of the savings would be used to pay contractors.

The lottery was set up 17 years ago in an effort to provide property-tax relief. Revenues from sales are returned to citizens in the form of property-tax returns.

Aspects of the lottery to be privatized include marketing, distribution, sales and Internet service, among other things. Proponents believe the private sector will handle these jobs more efficiently. However, unions representing lottery employees are opposed to the plan and argue that it will lead to corruption. There's also no telling what the savings will be, since no firms have yet bid on the services.

Joe Mahon