Lottery aids local schools' budgets

Roughly $470 million worth in prizes went unclaimed in the last fiscal year (March 31-March 31).

Net proceeds earned for Lottery Aid to Education in fiscal year 2010 were up by 4.8 percent from 2009-roughly $122 million.

All Lottery tickets are bearer instruments, meaning they are just like currency. If you lose your ticket, and it does not have your signature on it, anyone can use the ticket to claim a prize.

Federal, state, and local income taxes are withheld from prizes over $5,000 or from prizes over $600 when the winner does not provide a social security or tax identification number when claiming the prize. Withholding varies according to the winner's place of residence.

The New York Lottery's Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) Scholarship Program was not included in the final New York State budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. As a result no new scholarships were awarded.

The Lottery states on their website that it "adheres to an elaborate regimen for each and every Lottery drawing with strict policies and detailed checks and balances. The drawing process is videotaped and each component is observed by an independent auditor to ensure the absolute integrity of each drawing and that each drawing is completely fair and random."

For more information, visit www.nylottery.org. If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, contact my office.

My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second St., Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling 598-5185.

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