As Wisconsin faces a multi-million dollar budget deficit, state leaders look at what to cut and explore new ways to find money.
The state Department of Veterans Affairs is not immune to financial difficulties in this looming recession. As head of the agency, Secretary John Scocos ( pronounce ) says it's his job to present the legislature with innovative ways to generate funds to support the veterans benefit programs. One idea, Scocos says, is to have a lottery to help veterans with property tax relief.
"We have 100% property tax credit for veterans. Many states have veterans lotteries where a $1.00 ticket can go … all the funds would go to help offset, in my vision, the property tax credit."
Neighboring Illinois, for example, has a lottery to help cover veterans benefits. According to that state's Veterans website , there's been an outpouring of support for the initiative. In just 9 months, the so-called 'Veterans Cash' raised more than $3-million, with 100% of the proceeds deposited into an interest bearing account and used to support Illinois veterans. Scocos says his people are taking a good, hard look at the idea.
"We're looking at that. There's nothing definite. We have to have our legal counsel look at this and work with the other departments to see if it's even feasible, but we have to look at within our organization what we can provide and not provide."
Despite the national economic downturn, Scocos says the federal government made a commitment to our veterans, so his Department is depending on the feds to help out.