- Associated Press - Friday, March 17, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma lawmakers will have to pay back $10 million to the Lottery Trust Fund before making any appropriations for the next fiscal year for the first time.

Oklahoma’s lottery was created with constitutional language to prevent money raised from being diverted away from education spending, the Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/2mOmQLZ ) reported.

“Every year at the February Board of Equalization meeting a finding is made on whether lottery funds supplanted or enhanced education funding. In past years, it had always enhanced,” said Michael McNutt, spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin.

Last month, the state Board of Equalization was informed that lottery money had supplanted funds for education in fiscal 2017. A revenue failure was declared with a budget shortfall for fiscal year 2018.

“This is the first time a finding of supplanting has been made, and the board carried out its responsibility regarding the finding. The Legislature will need to take up the process from here and act in accordance with the law,” McNutt said.

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services is in charge of ensuring the lottery money will be used for education spending enhancement. It found that the education fund reduced funding for education by $10,144,171 in fiscal 2017.

Statutory requirements say 45 percent of the money returned to the fund need to go to common education, 45 percent to higher education and 5 percent to each school consolidation fund and the teachers’ retirement system.

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Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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