Do taxpayers need details about Texas Lottery winners?

Posted Sunday, Mar. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Texas lottery is run by a public agency, and its proceeds go into state coffers. But winners, like a group from Fort Worth that bought a $16 million Lotto Texas ticket, can remain largely anonymous. How much is the public entitled to know about lottery winners?

No 'right to know'

Curiosity about lottery winners falls into the same category as idolizing celebrities. It is an innate desire that most people possess to revere idols. We want to know the background of these Cinderellas and how they handle their windfall. However, this desire does not give us the right to be made aware of all the details about the winners.

Some winners want to remain anonymous as a matter of privacy and, in most cases, rightfully so. Being tied to the state does not entitle taxpayers the right to intrude upon the privacy of others. Thus, the public is entitled to know only what the winners are willing to reveal.

-- Grady Fuller, Kennedale

Disclosure exception

Although it is a Texas law that disbursements of all public funds must be made public, I believe that in certain instances there should be exceptions as in the case of lottery winners.

The disclosure of lottery winners without their permission can place the person in harm's way. Most large lottery winners are bombarded by requests for loans, contributions, gifts and can be the subject of attempted kidnapping of family members. This is just another example of how our lawmakers could use just a little common sense and intelligence in formulating Texas laws.

-- Jim Nelson,

Fort Worth

Big Brother excess

Texas Lotto Winners: It's one of those "Who/Why" issues. Who needs to know, and why should they care? Isn't it enough that Big Brother knows every breath we take?

-- Roger Latham,

Fort Worth

Quiet responsibility

If the winners' names are published, the winners will most likely be subject to every sob story in the book from every loser out there. They would lose "friends," too, who thought they were entitled to share the winnings because they were "friends."

The best thing for a winner to do is quietly form a trust, pay off their debt and treat themselves to one nice thing, then plan out how to make the money last for the rest of their lives. Not to mention the tax savings that are possible with a trust.

-- Al Aston, Euless

Winner's consent

No information should be released about lotto winner's, unless they agree to it.

-- Jim Sanderson, Fort Worth

Privacy violation

There is a thin line between public access to government records and the expectation of right to privacy of our personal information.

In as much as I have an expectation of privacy in my personal and financial records, the Texas Lottery should be accountable to the public without violating our right to privacy.

In this regard, it is my opinion that it is not necessary to disclose the identity of winners to the public. To do so would violate our expectation of privacy.

-- Ellen Pesserillo,

Watauga

Flood of 'opportunities'

Of course, winners should have the right to remain anonymous. Remember many stories from past winners?

Long-lost and unknown relatives suddenly appear. Phone calls and letters are received, some pleading for help and others investment opportunities. Unbelievable, if winners are required to reveal their identity.

-- George J. Anthony, Fort Worth

Avoiding harassment

Lots of states allow people to remain anonymous. Why not Texas? If I won I don't want everyone harassing me for money!

-- Leslie Storey, Arlington

Golden rule

If I were to win, I wouldn't want my name released. I see no reason that names should be published!

-- Jan Schultz, Fort Worth

Other benefits first

I guess when they start telling who's on food stamps and lives in Section 8 housing, then you can consider naming lottery winners.

-- Donna Croom Roland,

Arlington

Welcome dilemma

I just wish I would win so it would matter to me!

-- Tami Mahoney,

Bridger, Mont.

No one's business

Winner identity should never be made public. The only people, or entities, that should be made aware of a lottery winner's identity is the IRS; state tax agencies if the winner is not a Texas resident and resides in a state with state income tax; or child support offices if they owe back child support.

Just like one's work-related income is no one else's business (other than those mentioned above), their lottery winnings are not either. Let the winner choose whether or not they tell someone they won.

-- Laurie Halbrooks, Fort Worth

Private purchase

Lottery winners should have an option as to whether they wish to remain anonymous. They make their purchases with private funds and should be able to remain private. If not, then Texas legislators should be required to make their offshore accounts public.

-- Edward Lindsay, Fort Worth

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