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Wash. Governor Proposes To Privatize State Lottery

Governor Chris Gregoire wants to invite private companies to bid to operate the state lottery.
Governor Chris Gregoire wants to invite private companies to bid to operate the state lottery.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Illinois did it earlier this year. Now Governor Chris Gregoire wants Washington to explore privatizing the state lottery. That's just one of several ideas she unveiled Thursday to reform general government operations.

It would take legislative approval. But Gregoire wants to invite private companies to bid to take over lottery operations.

"Some have asked me should the state be in the gambling business? Well let me be clear in my opinion on that subject and it is 'No,'" Gregoire says. "So let's see if it can be done better through the private sector."

The state would still take most of the profits and regulate the games, ticket sales and advertising.

Gregoire also proposes to eliminate the state's three person Liquor Control Board now that voters have privatized the sale of booze. The state would continue enforce liquor laws.

Gregoire also wants to solicit private bids for bulk printing, mail services and website development.

The governor's call for more government reform comes as her office issues a new six-year budget outlook. It shows even if revenues recover to historic levels, the state faces another $2.8 billion budget shortfall by 2017.

On the Web:

Gov. Gregoire's reform proposals:

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.