Bet on it: Lottery says it will deliver its $1.324 billion

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Archives - March 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009
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SALEM Despite what the state predicts, the Oregon Lottery still plans to provide the budgeted $1.324 billion to support state schools, parks and natural resources, job creation, and gambling treatment programs.

The lottery revenue started slumping last fall with weekly drops of from $800,000 to $4 million. Oregon state economist Tom Potiowsky forecasts that lottery revenues will be off by more than $35 million for the 2007-2009 budget.  

But the lottery disagrees. Spokeswoman Mary Loftin says the lottery is on track to generate the budgeted $1.324 billion. So far, the lottery has provided the state with $1.165 billion, with one quarter left to go. If the lottery fails to meet its allocation goals, Loftin believes it will be by $10 million or less.

Agency budget cuts, new lottery games and advanced planning for revenue losses related to the smoking ban have helped to offset revenue losses. The agency also instituted a 5% budget cut internally, on par with other state agencies, although as a self-funded entity the cut was not mandated by the state. “It’s little dollars — $50 here, $80 there,” says Loftin. “We are doing everything we can to find every dime possible.”    

That money is especially important for already-struggling schools, as well as economic development programs. With some districts considering shortening their school year, cutting staff and even closing entire schools, the allocation of the full $936 million to the education system is critical.

Likewise, as the state unemployment rate continues to rise, lottery funds devoted to economic development, and more specifically to the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department, will play an important role in funding Oregon programs. NICOLE STORMBERG


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Editor's Letter: Power Play

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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