(By Delegates Manchin and Caputo)

[Introduced February 11, 2003 ; referred to the

Committee on Rules.]

Directing the State Lottery Commission to honor its statutory duty and commitment that one third of the appropriations of the proceeds from the lottery go to senior citizens programs.

Whereas, Senior Citizens were the first group of voters approached to support and endorse the lottery amendment to the West Virginia Constitution in 1984. They were promised a fair share of the lottery proceeds and it was always the understanding that this fair share would be one third of the proceeds, with the other two-thirds divided equally between public education and tourism; and
Whereas, This commitment that the seniors believed they had has never occurred. The most funding senior citizens' programs have received in any fiscal year has barely exceeded 22% of the lottery proceeds; and
Whereas, The 2000 Census shows that West Virginia has 362,795 citizens 65 years of age or older and 302,769 citizens ages 5 through 17, with approximately 260,000 of this latter group in the public schools. The State budget provides $5,057.17 for every child in this age group, while allotting only $2.76 for every senior citizen age 60 or older. Adding the Lottery proceeds minus medicaid transfer raises the amount for children to $5,304.30 and for senior citizens to $41.35. The senior citizen allocations are for all services, including congregate and home delivered meals, transportation, referral housekeeping, advocacy and more for one senior citizen for the year; and
Whereas, The Governor's budget for the fiscal year 2003 reduces funding for senior citizen programs, including the Silver Haired Legislature by $1440.00 and severely decreases the budget for the Senior Citizens Centers and Programs Line Item by $1.5 million. This is the senior program for county senior program needs, renovations and major acquisitions of vehicles and equipment as well as program operation. This decrease in financial support to seniors is puzzling in a State whose average age is the oldest in the nation, second only to Florida in total per capita aging population. The trend should be the preparation for increases in the older population by adequate funding of these programs to meet the growing demand and need for senior services, not a decrease in funding; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the State Lottery Commission honor its obligations, promises and commitments to the State's senior citizens as required by statute and ensure that appropriations for senior citizen programs and services be increased from lottery proceeds so that these various programs are receiving the one third of the lottery proceeds promised to senior citizens.