State treasurer candidate would divert share of sports-betting revenue to state pension funds

Dita Bhargava, a Democratic candidate for state treasurer, said Monday she’d push to commit a share of the revenue the state would derive from sports betting to the state teachers’ and state employees’ pension funds.

“As the next treasurer, I will advocate for ways to fund our underfunded pension obligations,” said Bhargava, a former investment fund manager from Greenwich.

State lawmakers are expected to consider legalizing sports betting in the state pending the outcome of negotiations between Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the casino-owning Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.

Bhargava will face Shawn Wooden, a former Hartford City Council chairman, in a primary election next Tuesday. Wooden won the state Democratic Party’s endorsement at a convention in May, with Bhargava garnering enough support to qualify for the primary.

Bhargava said about half of any new revenue the state would realize from the taxation of sports betting, sales of recreational marijuana and internet sales transactions should be diverted to the state pension funds.

Such taxes would have to be enacted by the state legislature.

“As a constitutional officer, I would work collaboratively with legislators,” Bhargava said. “I will be a strong voice.”

— Brian Hallenbeck

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