Gov. Harry Hughes, who in the past has philosophically opposed earmarking lottery proceeds for specific projects, will authorize the creation of a new lottery game that he will propose be revived annually to finance a new Baltimore stadium, his aides said yesterday.
The game, which Hughes' staff has said will be held three times in the next two years, would raise up to $30 million, $4.5 million of which would finance a new sports agency. The rest of the money would be spent on prizes, overhead costs and other state projects.
The governor also will ask the legislature to earmark funds beginning next year from a continuing lottery to pay off bonds that could be floated if a new Baltimore stadium were built, spokesman Lou Panos said.
The first three games, which will be held this fall and the spring of 1987, can be authorized simply by Hughes' administrative action. But the annual revival with its plan to earmark proceeds only for the sports authority, must be approved by the General Assembly, which begins its 90-day session today.
Ejner J. Johnson, Hughes' staff director, said that Hughes remains "generally opposed" to using lotteries to finance state government, but has been receptive to the notion that such a method could be the best way to pay for consolidating all of the state's sports concerns under one umbrella.
The new instant lottery with its rub-off winning tickets will join Lotto and the Pick 3 and Pick 4 lottery games in contributing to what has become the state's third-largest revenue source.
The creation of a sports authority was the chief recommendation made by a state task force on sports and the economy that Hughes appointed last year. The task force also suggested that the state build a $166 million sports facility to replace Baltimore's aging Memorial Stadium, to be paid for in part by lottery proceeds.
Key legislators, including Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Chairman Laurence Levitan (D-Montgomery), have opposed the concept of earmarking lottery proceeds for specific purposes.
"The stadium issue is going to be resolved later on," Johnson said.
Bernard Manekin, chairman of the state sports commission, said yesterday he is pleased at the governor's plan for the agency but still hopes that a special sports lottery will eventually be created to support the agency's efforts to build a stadium, attract new franchises and shore up failing sports industries.
"The lottery will give the authority enough dollars to get started in business," Manekin said.
"It makes good sense, particularly at this moment in time with the state having other fiscal problems it wants to address," he added.