Commission: Sports betting revenue should go to early childhood education

Louisiana lawmakers should dedicate all of the tax proceeds from legal sports betting to early childhood education, a state commission recommends in a new report.

The Louisiana Early Childhood Care and Education Commission is urging the state to immediately invest $85.8 million in educating children from birth through age 3 and continue to increase spending annually by nearly that amount over 10 years for a total cost of $839 million. The commission made the same recommendation in a previous report, according to The Center Square. 

Two state legislators, Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, R-Metairie, and Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, co-chair the commission, which also includes representation from the executive branch of state government and leaders from the education, business and nonprofit sectors.

If the state were to invest the recommended initial $85.8 million in early care and education now, it would see an economic benefit of $1.8 billion over the next 10 years, the commission’s report says. If no investment is made, the state could see a compounded economic loss of $12.1 billion over the next 10 years, the commission says.

The federal American Rescue Plan Act dedicates to Louisiana almost $300 million in Child Care and Development Block Grants and more than $475 million for child care stabilization. Combined with previous stimulus grants, Louisiana will receive more than $1 billion to support child care and families, officials say.

The Louisiana Department of Education, however, has to spend all the money by Sept. 30, 2024. State Superintendent Cade Brumley says that while he embraces the short-term solution the stimulus money provides, “Louisiana should consider investment for long-term funding solutions.” Read the full story.