While the bonds need $774,000 annually, the lottery proceeds have fallen from $1.2 million several years ago to $820,000 for the most recent payment, Gwinn said. Citing lottery estimates, he said revenues are expected to start falling short in three years.
"We're barely covering our bond payment," Gwinn warned.
Gwinn noted that the Legislature dedicated the scratch-off proceeds toward the state's new veterans cemetery in 2008. So far, the cemetery has 40 graves and doesn't need the lottery revenues, Gwinn said. He said lottery officials are also looking at revenue options.
Randall Bare, of the West Virginia Veterans Council, which helps to develop state policy, attended Monday's meeting and suggested an income tax return check-off box allowing West Virginians to donate $1 or so toward veterans' needs. Other states provide that choice on their returns, Bare said.
House Veterans Affairs Chairman Richard Iaquinta, who co-chairs the joint interim study panel, quizzed Gwinn on the nursing home funding situation.
Citing the lottery estimate, Iaquinta, a Harrison County Democrat and a veteran, asked, "Well then, how can we expand to another facility?"
"That's why we're here today, sir, to discuss this," Gwinn replied.