Article XV of the Oregon Constitution currently specifies and limits the purposes for which lottery funds may be used to "creating jobs, furthering economic development, financing public education in Oregon or restoring and protecting Oregon's parks, beaches, watersheds and critical fish and wildlife habitats."
At this time, the Constitution specifies that 18% of the net proceeds from the state lottery shall be deposited in an education stability fund. The Constitution specifies that 15% of the net proceeds from the state lottery shall be deposited in a parks and natural resources fund. The remaining 67% currently can be used only for job creation, education, and economic development. Currently more than 10% of net lottery proceeds is used for debt service on previous bond issues for these purposes.
This measure amends the Constitution to create a new public safety fund, which would receive 15% of lottery proceeds for the following law enforcement and related programs:
- 50 percent to fund criminal investigation and forensics operations (including crime labs) of the Oregon State Police to assist law enforcement throughout the state.
- 20 percent for grants to counties to fund early childhood programs for children who are at risk. The measure does not define either "early childhood programs" or "at risk."
- 15 percent for grants to counties to supplement existing county appropriations for the operations of district attorneys.
- 15 percent for grants to counties to supplement existing county appropriations for investigation and field operations of county sheriffs.
In the current, 2007-2008 budget, $1.387 billion in lottery funds were used to pay for:
- K-12 education - $634.1 million;
- Education Stability Fund - $241.2 million;
- Parks and natural resources - $201 million;
- Debt service on previous economic development and education projects - $167.5 million;
- Economic development - $108.5 million.
If this measure had been in effect in 2007-2009, it would have required $201 million of lottery proceeds to go to the new public safety fund. Because the education stability fund and the parks and natural resources fund are specified percentages of the lottery proceeds, the $201 million for the public safety fund would have to come from job creation, education, and economic development.
This measure prohibits limitations on expenditures from this public safety fund and stipulates that the funds must be added to "any existing county funding." It does not define what "existing county funding" means.