Sunday, July 26, 2009

Legislative Report on Lottery Salaries Flawed.


A report from the Bureau of Legislative Research shows that the overall salaries in the Lottery Commission’s Budget is below the industry average in terms of a percentage of projected sales. The report was requested by Rep. Jonathan Dismang. I am glad he requested it, but he should not just accept it's conclusions at face value.

Here is what Dismang said, drawing from the report: “Assuming an estimated revenue of $751 million (Arkansas population x the national average sales per capita) in total annual lottery sales, the total salaries budget of $4.7 million will amount to .68% of total sales - compared to the national average of 1.49%,”

I call BS. Here is why.....

1) The national sales per capita in lottery tickets is going to be higher than the sales in Arkansas, just as the sales per capita in automobiles, steaks, and hand bags is higher in other states. We have an average income far below the national average, and so we spend below the national average on items basically across the board. Those figures were drawn from previous years during our faux-boom. We are in a bust and people have less money to throw away on stuff like this- present lottery ticket sales are declining across the county. Add to it we have a much higher proportion of devout Christians than northern states who will not buy lottery tickets.

2. Even if they were correct in their numbers on point one (and they are not) they miss the point of our complaints. Even these flawed numbers for salaries are only in-line with other states (on a revenue basis) ON AVERAGE. "His head was in fire, and his feet were in ice. But on the average, he was very comfortable".

They over-pay at the top, on the plum political patronage jobs, and under-pay (or rather pay the standing lower salaries compared to other states for common jobs) the much larger number of low level workers. The complaint is not about the AVERAGE pay. It is about the excessive pay at the top.

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