Would Orange Play the Lottery?

Guest Post by Terri Buckner

According to the News & Observer, under a new proposal, each county would have the choice of opting into the state lottery. The details aren't provided in a newspaper article that I can link to but on the State of Things on May 11, it was stated that once 25 counties voted to participate in the lottery, the lottery would be implemented statewide with 25% of all revenues going to the schools.

According to the State of Things, those of us who are against the lottery are social conservatives. I'm against it because it's a regressive tax plan. What do others think? Should Orange make this a county referendum? What are the benefits/drawbacks to a lottery here in Orange Co?



More machinations around the lottery!

From today's NC Policy Watch:
Lawmakers who spend to extra time reading the budget again will find that for all the rhetoric about helping children, the budget creates a shell game for helping children in North Carolina.

Lottery supporters repeatedly claim that the proceeds from the lottery will mean big improvements in public schools and early childhood programs and will not simply take the place of money already spent on those programs.

But the final budget agreement eliminates provisions in the House lottery bill that lottery revenues will “not supplant revenues already expended or projected to be expended “ for those programs.

It would be very difficult to prevent lottery proceeds from supplanting existing money even with the provisions, but at least the House made an effort to prevent it. The final budget removes all pretense. Money raised from a lottery would replace money already spent. The best solution of course, is for lawmakers to pay for schools needs with reliable revenue and to reject the lottery altogether and keep the state from becoming a giant gambling enterprise.

Thanks for passing this along, Terri. But we should not be surprised. In a gutless political environment where up is down and truth is a quaint artifact of history, Lottery Lies are to be expected.

Most days I can't decide whether to laugh or cry about the charade that is the North Carolina Legislature.

Same here James. On the lottery issue, we should be thankful for the Republicans and the five Democratic holdouts. I called each one of the 5 Dems last week to tell them how much I appreciated their willingness to stand firm. If any Republicans are reading this, I don't care what your motivation is. Standing up to the lottery lobby is heroic IMHO. When I left Virginia 4 years ago, I was so looking forward to living in a state where legislators understood the relationship between quality of life, economic development, and education. Joke's on me.

I'm not a supporter of the lottery but I'll get over it if it passes. What bugs me is what a sorry example of governace it has become. Lottery supporters have a huge advantage in the debate. Foes have to win the arguement every single year. Supporters only have to win once. Once we have a lottery we will always have a lottery. It's like real estate development; once we have Medowmont...

Further, we have a part time legislature. Granteed, this is the long session but it's time for them to finish up and go home. Of the five years Mike Easley has been Gov, the state house had debated the lottery five times. The man needs to learn how to lose with grace. Four mulligans in a row?

At the end of this week (maybe I'm off on the date) the state will have burned through it's third continuing resolution and still won't have a budget. Our leaders get a fat per diem every day they stall. The lottery is one of the biggest sticking points blocking the budgets compleation. If the lottery fails this year we can expect the issue to come up next year in the short session and every year there after untill 2009 when Mike is replaced. Or untill he gets his way.

So let's reform the Democratic Party from within...

Just kidding.

I wonder how much revenue could be raised for the schools if the "Guv'mint" legalized marijuana, TAXED THE HELL OUT OF IT, and earmarked the money for schools? Better yet--school construction, maintenance, textbooks. CAPITAL costs. Then the money from property taxes et al could be spent on teachers and programs...

never gonna happen.


Melanie, probably not, but wishful thinking never hurt.

I'm a believer in personal liberty, so I can't couldn't stand up against the lottery, until now. Any attempt to supplant current education spending and replace it with lottery spending is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Time to email some Congresspersons

Dear Legislators:

Public education needs additional funding. However, nationwide research shows a net loss n educational spending in state after state once a lottery has been operational for a couple of years. In nearly every instance, Georgia being the sole exception that I know of, educational spending has suffered from the introduction of a lottery. Please do not throw the future of this state down the drain by voting for a lottery.

We can do better by our public schools by developing progressive funding strategies that are consistent from county to county and over time. Help make our schools the best they can be by voting AGAINST the lottery.

I believe that our schools have failed us if we believe that encouraging gambling is a responsible form of financial management--for individuals or for the state. So what if all states surrounding North Carolina have a lottery. As my father always said, if your friends jump off a cliff, are you going to follow them? Education is the backbone of this great state. Encouraging wasteful spending is not good financial management nor is it an indicator of educational success. Do we really believe our schools have been successful if their graduates believe gambling is the way to financial success?

Please DO NOT support a lottery. Let's put the wonderful minds of this state to the task of finding an equitable, progressive form of school funding rather than taking the easy, regressive way out.

Terri Buckner

It's truly amazing that a handful of brave Democrats and the minority contingency of Republicans have been able to stave off the lottery....especially when our state's educators (North Carolina Association for Education) are putting out garbage such as this.

The Senate is scheduled for a full floor session tomorrow, Tuesday, August 30, at 11:00 AM.

It is possible that the lottery will come up for a vote. The proceeds from the lottery would generate additional monies for public education—for school construction, expansion of the voluntary pre-kindergarten program and class size reduction, and for college scholarships.

School construction needs vary across the state, but exist everywhere. Small, rural counties are hard pressed to replace aging facilities, and large, urban counties are unable to keep up with booming enrollments. Perquimans and Jones counties would receive $131,152 and $203,762 respectively; and, Mecklenburg and Wake counties, $18.3M and $9.2M respectively on an annual basis from lottery monies, for example. Other school districts would share in these proceeds in a similar manner.

The education lottery question is not about what is right or wrong. The truth is, North Carolinians spend at least a million dollars a day playing the lottery in other states. Therefore, that money goes to support schools in other states while ours do without.

If you would like to see lottery funds go to support the schools in North Carolina and not those in South Carolina and Tennessee, call your legislator today (919-733-4111) and send an email by visiting our website at www.ncae.org.
The future looks grim if our educational leaders have such extraordinarily misguided understanding of basic economics and social justice.

If the lottery is such a great way to raise monies, why don't we use the Highway Trust Fund for education and raise road funds using the lottery? Roads over education? I have a feeling that equation would be politically unacceptable.

Maybe the present is a little screwed up because our educational leaders have been thinking like that for years.

Terri, I'm curious as to your reasoning as to why you're so adamantly opposed to a lottery. I can't seem to find any logically sound arguments as to why a lottery is a bad idea.

You mention that a lottery encourages the idea that gambling is sound financial management. I would argue that only the most simple-minded of people would consider gambling to be a sound investment. What IS a sound investment is the business of gambling. I'm pretty sure that Las Vegas didn't rise out of the desert on it's own accord.

You also mention that it's "regressive". I assume that by using that word that you're suggesting that it's some sort of tax where the burden falls primarily on poorer people. Since playing the lottery is 100% voluntary, a lottery ticket is no more regressive than a bunch of bananas.

So please, for my information, what are these issues of "basic economics" and "social justice" that you've mentioned?

I've also read other posts suggesting that in states with lotteries, that the money gets quickly diverted by the politicians towards other projects, instead of education. Again, what does this have to do with a lottery? This sounds like simply bad management to me, and would be done with *any* sudden new infusion of revenue.



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