Got your favorite 7 numbers memorized yet?

The Lottery passed the Senate 24 to 24, Chapel Hill citizen and Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue cast the deciding vote.





I thought Basnight was going to be a "gentleman" and not pull this kind of trick.

A real disgrace.

I think today's N & O pegged it rather well.

If state Senate Democrats use parliamentary tricks to sneak a lottery into law, they'll disgrace the chamber they control

Well, wouldn't you know it. Proponents of a state lottery, led by Governor Easley, seemed to have lost their fight in the General Assembly to put North Carolina in the gambling business this year. But with the state Senate called back to town for a session today, there's speculation afoot that a couple of Republican lottery opponents -- and possibly a Democrat as well -- may be absent. That would tip the odds toward those who favor the lottery, since 21 Republicans and five Democrats have made up a 26-24 majority in opposition. In the event of a 24-24 split, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue says she'd vote for the lottery.

Senate President Pro Tem (read that: Boss) Marc Basnight of Manteo, who'd previously conceded defeat, said over the weekend that the issue might well come to a vote today if the numbers looked good. Basnight is a fellow who both respects the traditions of the Senate and isn't all that crazy about the governor, so this is a strange twist. It's a lot of trouble, after all, to maneuver things this way on behalf of the governor's issue, so it's curious that Basnight might suddenly decide to carry Easley's water and bend obediently into the Blount Street Bow.

The lottery lost fair and square, or would have if Senate leaders had put it to a vote. Now proponents are flirting with sitting down at the table again and playing with what amounts to a deck that's stacked because of senators who have to be, or perhaps have been persuaded to be, absent. That would be a disgrace to them and to the democratic process itself.


What they feared is exactly what took place. The N&O news story can be found here.

Democracy shouldn't involve engineering votes around the absence of your opponents. "A disgrace" is an apt description of this vote.

Democracy shouldn't involve engineering votes around the absence of your opponents

Can I quote you on that, Dan?

Was what Marc Basnight did right? No. Then again, if this were any other issue I would say it was about time Democrats decided to win, given what we put up with from Republicans. I haven't found the final passed language yet, but I am DISAPPOINTED in the earlier language. This money should be spent in ADDITION to the current education budget, not in lieu of the current budget. For that reason above all others, this was a bad bill for the children of North Carolina.

Still, I don't disagree with the lottery. As a Progressive I have had to make a tough choice. The choice to stick to my guiding principles, even when I don't like it. So, I would like to say that I am against the lottery, but that doesn't fit my principles of free will, choice, and personal responsibility. I believe a woman has the right to run her own life, not the church or state. I believe that two people in love can share their lives, regardless of what any particular church or state say about it. And, I believe that people can gamble in the form of a lottery. It is a matter of free will, of choice, and of personal responsibility.

The sales tax is regressive. Poor people spend more of their income on a tax over which they have no control. The lottery is not a tax, it is a choice. Even if it is a bad choice, whose decision is that? How come when the discussion revolves around a woman's body or same-sex marriage the decision should be up to the individual, but when it is gambling the decision should be up to US? Perhaps THOSE poor people don't know what is right, so they need US to protect them? Sounds familiar, sounds like something James Dobson might say about women, or Jerry Falwell about gays. That is reason enough for me to stand UP for the right to have a lottery.

Thanks Robert. I said the same thing months ago and got blasted.

I am withdrawing from the North Carolina Democratic Party as soon as I can find the form to do so. The decision to proceed with the vote alone was sufficient to make me take the action, but in conjunction with the other equally disgraceful aspects of the budget, I cannot find any redeeming qualities left in the party as a whole.

What the heck is wrong with the democratic party?

this is just wrong from so many standpoints


All you have to do is change your voter registration to Republican or Unafiliated. I hope you don't but that is the mechanism. You can also write the state chair, Jerry Meek. He is very "grassroots" oriented and would indeed read you e-mail. He's jmeek AT

There are a lot of problems with this budget. There are a lot of problems with this lottery bill. That said, I think the anti-lottery democrats bear some of the responsibility for this. Instead being obstructionist, they could have lobbied for a "better" lottery bill that would be "in addition to" current education funding not "in lieu of".

Every member of the Senate knew it was Gov. Easley's top priority to get a lottery bill passed. It was going to happen. Instead of sticking their heads in the sand, they should have rolled up their sleeves to make the idea work for North Carolina children.

I agree that individual should have the right to gamble if that's what they want to do. But I don't see what that has to do with the creation and administration of a state-run lottery. Are you saying that the state has the obligation to provide individuals with the opportunity to gamble as a means of respecting their individual rights?

In state after state, education funding has declined as a result of poor lottery management (aka weak legislators). Just looking at the language modifications from the bill passed in the House and the amended bill passed by the Senate should tell you that education is going to suffer. But heck, this will definitely be a great way to expand state government and put more money into the advertising community. Now that NC schools are going to be so well funded, maybe next year the legislature can reallocate a portion of non-lottery educational funds to provide incentives to more large corporations who can keep their headquarters in other states but bring their minimum wage jobs to NC.

To me, the most dangerous aspect of a lottery is that it separtates citizens from the impact of budget decisions. If taxes will need to be raised to fund a certain program, then people are affected and may get involved in the decision. If the lottery funds it, there is much less incentive to get involved. The lottery is an erosion of democracy.

Terri: You still haven't offered a single, concrete reason as to why you think that a lottery is a bad idea. You hinted at government waste, but that's a problem with ANY program that brings in money, no matter what it is. If you want to look at government waste, you should start with bigger numbers that impact more people, like farming subsidies for example. The lottery in and of itself is really pretty harmless. The problem that you're at least hinting at isn't a lottery problem. It's a government problem.

Mark: You're right to a point... but really... are people really at all involved with budgetary decisions now? Hell, I pay a lot of money for things that I don't agree with through sales tax, property tax, income tax, gasoline taxes, etc. Yet, still, none of those things that I happen to be funding effect me in a way that I can alter the amount I contribute via taxes. With the lottery at least, I can choose to participate or not, and it's fun in the process. I can't choose not to pay my income tax just because I don't support Program X.

I'm disgusted by the chicanery.

Prepare to be completely underwhelmed by the revenue that this actually generates.

Robert, I'm a big fan of personal responsibility, free will and choice, as you might expect, but the lottery is an extremely poor way to raise monies for education.

Let's take the Georgia lottery, the current poster child for the suc(k)cess of lotteries.

The Georgia Lottery Corporation has experienced unprecedented sales and returns to education in its 11-year operation - with sales totaling $21 billion. Since its inception, the GLC has transferred more than $7.6 billion to the State Treasury's Lottery for Education Account.

By law, %51 of the proceeds are supposed to be paid out as prizes, roughly %35 goes to education, %7 as commissions to sellers and %7 administrative overhead. Georgia only saw administrative efficiencies in their program after a number of years. These efficiencies were primarily attributed to economies of scale and a growing improvement in execution.

Hmmm, looks good on paper. A %35 return is not too shabby by many business standards. But that's %35 of a shrinking pie. As the years went by, the State had to deal with individual's worsening economic conditions, competition from "every other State on the Eastern Seaboard" and traditional waning of interest in the lottery, all of which reduced revenue in flows at the same time their Hope obligations increased. The Hope Scholarship program has similar obligations, in some ways, like a pension fund. If you get the grades (and keep your nose clean and don't live in a county with too many rec pients), you get the ("illgotten"?) bucks.

But like many a Ponzi scheme, if the base of the pyramid (players) shrinks while the apex (students) expands, you're caught in a bind. Unlike most Ponzi schemes, the sponsors of the program (like the original sponsor of Georgia's game - Zell Miller [and doesn't that say something]) don't go to the pokey.

A study of the Hope program in the late '90's shows that since the program is "merit-based" factors like "grade-inflation" and parental economic conditions perturb and distort the distribution of Hope scholarship funds. By one measure, the disproportionate distribution is quite dramatic.

... four-year public institutions where the merit rules are in force, counties with large shares of African Americans, low-income and poorly educated people receive disproportionately fewer scholarships and less scholarship aid. In per capita terms, the richest counties receive about 70% more in HOPE Scholarships for four-year institutions than the poorest counties. When using more comprehensive controls we find that counties with large shares of African Americans and low-income people still receive fewer scholarships to four-year schools. Therefore, the merit-based allocation to the four year public institutions exacerbates the distributional impacts of the implicit lottery tax.

NC's startup lottery will be facing competition for a shrinking economic pie from all its neighbors. Whatever scheme is chosen to distribute the funds will suffer from the same startup inefficiencies that every other lottery in the country has suffered from. The political sway of the money will probably pervert a reasoned discourse on the State's "real" priorities. We can expect a noisome blizzard of State sponsored "get rich with zero effort" (try to explain that to the kids) TV commercials, billboards, bumper stickers, newspaper and radio ads. And all the while the program's administrators will be under pressure to guard against the improprieties that have plague many other programs (not to speak of another State Fair / Meg Phipps type disaster).

Doesn't seem to be much of a deal anymore.

Frank--I think it's a bad idea because I have lived in two states were educational funding suffered as a result of it. I think it is a bad idea because it let's legislators who are too cowardedly to raise taxes on the rich off the hook. Ithink it is a bad idea because I hate all the visual pollution (billboards) it spawns around the countryside. I think it is a bad idea because I hate watching the TV stations get rich on money that should be going to schools. I think it's a bad idea because I believe education is the future of this state and I think we should be willing to fund that future directly rather than turning it into a crap shoot.

What's next gambling barges on the Haw?

If anyone else would like to withdraw from the North Carolina Democratic Party, the form to do can be found at:

You're preaching to the choir, Terri. Even if the revenue generated is significant (and I believe that long term, it will not be), this approach to funding education is the coward's way out.

It sounds like the problem isn't the lottery itself, but all of our corrupt politicians (both Democrat and Republican) that end up running the lotteries. It certainly doesn't sound like a lottery is a cause of any problems. Instead, I'd say that the root of these problems are the politicians that end up diverting the money elsewhere, bad management, etc... everything that goes along with our current political system. Instead of getting upset about a lottery, wouldn't it make more sense to get upset at the politicians who decide to start funneling the money away?

I think you make excellent points in your 6:34 posting.

Related to another question, how DID the government get involved in gambling? Anyone know the history? Regulation of private gambling seems like a no-brainer, unless you are going to ban it outright. But, exactly when did governments decide it would be a good idea to run gambling?

Frank P.,
The lottery could be run by Mother Theresa and it would still be handled in such a way that it would never be efficient. I don't know that dishonest politicians can funnel that much away once they pay winners, marketing costs, the companies that manage the lottery, and the commissions.

Robert P.,
I admit I have a weakness for the libertarian argument that people should have the freedom to play the lottery as they are spending their own money. But, would it also be a libertarian argument that the state government has no business running a gambling operation in the first place?

Robert says above:
"I haven't found the final passed language yet, but I am DISAPPOINTED in the earlier language. This money should be spent in ADDITION to the current education budget, not in lieu of the current budget. For that reason above all others, this was a bad bill for the children of North Carolina"

The General Assembly has already adopted a two year budget, so whatever comes in during this biennium (July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2007) as the result of the lottery (school construction, scholarships, and class size reduction) will be in ADDITION to whatever has been appropriated in the budget. So, whatever may or may not be in the lottery bill about whether or not lottery proceeds for education are in ADDITION to what is in the budget, in fact they ARE in addition, because the budget bill did not include any lottery revenue in anticipated receipts.

One history of lotteries

The info is summarized from C. Clottfelter and P. Cook's book, Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America (Harvard Univ. Press).

The full statute (as ratified) can be found at:

I particularly like the sections where it reiterates that gambling is illegal. Guess this means we won't get floating casinos on the Haw.

SECTION 3.(e) G.S. 14‑292 reads as rewritten:
"§ 14‑292. Gambling. Except as provided in Chapter 18C of the General Statutes or in Part 2 of this Article, any person or organization that operates any game of chance or any person who plays at or bets on any game of chance at which any money, property or other thing of value is bet, whether the same be in stake or not, shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. This section shall not apply to a person who plays at or bets on any lottery game being lawfully conducted in any state."

Personally, my reasons for opposing a lottery are based on how it goes against my values, especially to have the State running it (have you seen the “get rich quick” ads they run in Va?).

Several months ago, I was thinking – if Virginia and SC were legalizing prostitution right across our borders (and taxing it at 35% for great revenue generation), would that mean our Guv and Legislators would insist we need to do the same? What if they were opening up executions for public viewing and charging like a rock concert to attend? If an idea is morally reprehensible, just because it raises money for education (or because polls say many people support it) is no excuse to the complete lack of values shown by NC Democrats (and while Ellie gets a kudos here, Joe Hackney will never get my vote again).

On a lighter note, a friend said recently his opposition to it is that he opposes any scheme which gives the guys in Raleigh more moolah to control. All the other junk in the budget certainly says something about whether we should entrust them with more funds.

Maybe someone with more legislative experience can help decipher this:

(1) Fifty percent (50%) shall be transferred to the Public School Building Capital Fund created in Article 38A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes and is appropriated for expenditure in accordance with that Article. It is the purpose of this subdivision for counties to appropriate funds generated under this subdivision to increase the level of county spending for public school capital outlay purposes other than the retirement of indebtedness. A county must continue to spend for public school capital outlay purposes the same amount of money it would have spent for those purposes if it had not received the monies appropriated under this subdivision.

(2) Twenty‑five percent (25%) shall be transferred to the State Educational Assistance Authority and is appropriated to fund scholarships pursuant to Article 35A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes.

(3) Twenty‑five percent (25%) shall be transferred to a special revenue fund to be established in the State treasury and to be known as the Education Enhancement Fund. This fund shall be subject to appropriation by the General Assembly and shall be used to further the goal of providing enhanced educational opportunities so that all students in the public schools can achieve their full potential.

So, in (1) it clearly states that the revenue will not be spent to retire debt. It also says that counties must continue to spend the same amount of money they would have otherwise. But, this section says nothing about the state spending what it would have on Capital Expenses. Really, nowhere in here does it say that this money will be in excess of current funds, except when it comes to county spending on capital expenses.

Anyone else see something different?

"If state Senate Democrats use parliamentary tricks to sneak a lottery into law, they'll disgrace the chamber they control"

Why is everyone acting like this is not done at all levels by Dems & Reps alike? This way of getting things passed is nothing new and will continue to be used as long as the U.S. chooses to remain a republic.

I for one am for less government intervention in all areas of life. If I want to play the lottery or poker (or any other form of gambling), wed or not, have kids or not, who is to say they have a right to make that decision for me.

For years people have been saying we need more money for education, but the second a tax increase comes into the discussion you'd think the Pope just farted. Would raising taxes be a better solution? (maybe/maybe not) Let me say this..."You only get back what you are willing to put in!" Guess what people NC schools suck and are continuing to decline, but considering how little is being put into the schools it doesn't surprise me.

Is the lottery the best solution? Probably not, but why continue to allow millions of dollars of NC money to go to neighboring states when it can do at least some good by keeping it here.


Your libertarian impulses are in conflict: a lottery increases your personal choices but only at the expense of larger governmental control.

Also, would you have anything less than a vigilant citizenry when it comes to tax increases? It's a healthy thing, much more so, in fact, than the olfactory horrors of an irreligious fiat.

And people wonder why I'm registered "unaffiliated."

This type of behavior is why many people DON'T VOTE.

Pokitics at it's best...

I still say they should have put the lottery on the ballot as a referendum...then let those who choose to vote do so.

It's not gonna generate tons of (additional) money for the schools. Trust me, I'm from Ohio. There will be a blip at the beginning, then the GA will start sending money that USED to go to the schools into other areas...relying on Lottery money to fund the schools.

How many of you voted for Gov. Easley? He is just as guilty as Basnight and company. Easley is the one that talked Speaker Black into keeping the House around in Raleigh in hopes of changing the numbers in the Senate. If the General Assembly had closed up shop after passing the budget we would not be discussing the passage of the lottery. Easley and the General Assembly leadership share in the disgrace of how the lottery was passed.

Let's not forget Lt. Gov. Perdue's contribution to the disgrace. She and Hackney must clearly have recognized that Orange County would never support a local option on the lottery (the proposal from last year) and yet they cast their votes in favor anyway.

I feel compelled to add a couple of points.

First, Gerry Cohen is right to observe that state spending on education and other functions has already been authorized for the next two fiscal years. However, a new lottery will presumably be in place and generating some revenue by FY 2006-07. The legislature will return in May to, among other things, "adjust" the second year of the biennial budget based on expected revenues and expenditure trends. The supplanting effect could well happen at that point as items that the General Assembly might have funded in a 2006-07 budget adjustment with tax dollars could then be funded with lottery revenues, freeing up dollars either for tax cuts or spending elsewhere. Seems likely. Something similar will probably happen in a number of counties, where commissioners are already talking about substituting lottery revenues for at least part of school construction needs they would otherwise have funded with other taxes.

As to assigning political blame, I feel odd defending Basnight in this instance but here goes: I don't buy the initial story, not entirely. At least two Republicans, Harry Brown and John Garwood, were complicit in not showing up or pairing up Tuesday. Garwood had the opportunity. Basnight did not block him from doing so. And no one can say for sure whether Brown, on his honeymoon, knew about the called session, but I have a pretty good feeling that he is not honeymooning on the planet Venus.

I have heard that other Republicans, including leaders, may have been involved in hatching the plan, too. One story is that Basnight was the one that insisted on notifying members Friday of a session the following Tuesday, that others wanted the notification to go out as late as Sunday night. So while Basnight's behavior is hardly ethically pure, I don't believe he is a singular villain in the drama.

So--you think Brown should have INTERRUPTED his HONEYMOON to come back? And because he didn't he is now COMPLICIT? Heck--it took a national disaster to get Bush to cut his five week vacation short. I call shenanigans on the legislature.

And, yeah, I voted for Easley. Shouldn't have. Ought to have voted libertarian. My bad.


You would be much better off voting for a libertarian. If enough people voted that way, like they did for Nader in 2000, then we could have a good Republican governor running the state. We sure wouldn't have had a lottery then.

friendly, jesting snark

John Hood is correct in a number of aspects, although here is how the lottery money goes:
(FROM SB622)
(c) The Commission shall distribute the remaining net revenue of the Education Lottery Fund, as follows, in the following manner:
(1) A sum equal to fifty percent (50%) to support reduction of class size in early grades to class size allotments not exceeding 1:18 in order to eliminate achievement gaps and to support academic prekindergarten programs for at‑risk four‑year‑olds who would otherwise not be served in a high‑quality education program in order to help those four‑year‑olds be prepared developmentally to succeed in school.
(2) A sum equal to forty percent (40%) to the Public School Building Capital Fund in accordance with G.S. 115C‑546.2.
(3) A sum equal to ten percent (10%) to the State Educational Assistance Authority to fund college and university scholarships in accordance with Article 35A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes.

Taking them in reverse order:

3) The state has never funded scholarships out of general fund revenues. They have been funded from interest on abandoned property (escheats) and from earmarking some of increased tuition. Escheat funds are constitutionally mandated for scholarships, so it would be impossible to supplant these funds. The only way to supplant here would be to reduce to tuition and divert the funds to fund the same scholarships.

2) The state does not fund school construction, so there is nothing to supplant. (this is a county issue which others have discussed)

1a) reduction in class size is obviously new money. The base budget supports current class sizes.
1b) to support academic prekindergarten programs for at‑risk four‑year‑olds. There are currently 18,000 enrolled in More-at-4. I suppose it would be possible to supplant the first 18,000 here, but in fact the lottery is intended to provide 32,000 new slots to increase enrollment to 50,000.

To all who voted for Easley or Perdue:

Get a grip!!! So you do not agree with them ( and others) on this vote but do you seriously mean you would have preferred their opponents be in office? Many on the thread above sounds like "one issue", my way of the highway type citizens that can not allow elected officals to make a tough calls on an issue. In my mind this is not a killer issue in terms of my support for an elected offical. I take the view one must look at their total record and sometimes choose the lesser of two evils.

I would have perferred the lottery not come to NC. But I acknowledge the arguments for the lottery as valid even if I favor counter arguments. I also know it is voluntary. I know it preys on the poor. Yet once again, it is voluntary unlike a regressive sales tax hike or other such means of raising revenue.

Regarding all this talk about free will:

Does free will include the acceptance of people who use thier free will to manipulate and limit other people, who's free will decisions are limited by physical, educational, and economic reasons?

Free will assumes complete knowledge, and the concept of free will is very closely connected to the concept of moral responsibility. And that is the issue, whether or not the lottery is moral, not if it stands up to free will. (Anyway, free will is looking like it does not exist. People seem to initiate actions subconsciuosly. Freaky, huh?)

To me,the lottery is immoral.

Please don't comment on free will here. The thread will never end.

Also, this lottery is essentially an opt-out taxion scheme. Don't wanna pay for education? Don't play the lottery.

"Vote Libertarian - Because You Care Only of Yourself." :^P

I'm beginning to think of the lottery the same as I do state liquor control. Either you provide a product the public wants and get the tax revenue from it, or the public bootlegs it and you lose the tax revenue. Either way, North Carolinians will play the lottery. We have been pumping millions into Virginia's and SC's coffers.

But I would really hate to see high profile, deceptive advertising to induce people to flush significant portions of their income down a pipe dream toilet. Like ABC stores, the state should be in the somewhat schizo situation of offering something without promoting it. But I don't think that is how it is going to be approached.

I have mixed feeling about the lottery, and probably lean
against it. I stand however very strongly
against the manner in which the senate vote was held. With
Basnight, Perdue, Rand, and Easley knowing full well that the
Senate majority did not favor the lottery, they engineered
a vote at a time when two members on one side were
absent. Using town council experience as a backdrop, let's
select a major council vote that was close and emotional,
the approval of Meadowmont. How would Meadowmont
supporters have felt if the Mayor had engineering the
approval vote when a majority of Meadowmont opponents
had been present?

The council procedures are better than the NC Senate in
this regard. To approve a resolution or ordinance, a vote
of 5 is required, regardless of the number of councilmembers
present at the vote. If the NC Senate, with 50 members,
required 26 votes to pass something regardless of the
number of senators present, none of this
chicanery would have happened.

Gerry C.'s post above really confuses the issue in my mind because it was my impression, reinforced by the General Assembly's web site, that the bill approved Tuesday was H. 1023, not S. 622. The difference is significant because it the House bill allots 50 percent of the money for schools to school capital, 25 percent to college scholarships and 25 percent for unspecified "educational enchancements."

I have been working, in print, off the belief that it was H. 1023 that passed. This was what I heard originally from Sen. Kinnaird, the senator's assistant, and Rep. Insko. See also the GA Web's legislative history.

If the Republicans would run someone that I could, in good concience, vote for, I'd have voted for that person. I DID vote Repub, on occaision, when I lived in Ohio. (One of the reasons I'm registered unaffiliated. NEver voted a straight ticket in my life. Voted for Anderson in my first Presidential election.)

Lately, though, all the "socially liberal/fiscally conserative" repubs have been run out of town on a rail--which leaves me withthe dems or the libertarians. Since I can't support Intelligent Design in the schools...I hold my nose and vote for the Easley's of the world.


Ray, HB1023 was passed, but SB622 amended it so the allocations I stated above are what the final law is. The actual lottery allocations are in SB622.

From SB622:
SECTION 31.1.(t) If House Bill 1023, 2005 Regular Session, becomes law, then G.S. 18C‑164, as enacted by that act, reads as rewritten:

"§ 18C‑164. Transfer of net revenues.
. . . . .

(c) The Commission shall distribute the remaining net revenue of the Education Lottery Fund, as follows, in the following manner:

(1) A sum equal to fifty percent (50%) to support reduction of class size in early grades to class size allotments not exceeding 1:18 in order to eliminate achievement gaps and to support academic prekindergarten programs for at‑risk four‑year‑olds who would otherwise not be served in a high‑quality education program in order to help those four‑year‑olds be prepared developmentally to succeed in school.

(2) A sum equal to forty percent (40%) to the Public School Building Capital Fund in accordance with G.S. 115C‑546.2.

(3) A sum equal to ten percent (10%) to the State Educational Assistance Authority to fund college and university scholarships in accordance with Article 35A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes.

What I don't like about this lottery is that we are choosing to fund an essential public service (education--I think we are in general agreement that this is a public service) with gambling proceeds. I don't like gambling personally, but I am not the gambling police, and if people want to gamble, (like drinking, smoking, etc) then I am not inclined to tell them that they cannot do so. What I don't like is the disingenuity of our public officials. They are telling us that gambling money is for our "public good" when essentially it is "easy money" for the state and helps lawmakers avoid having to answer the hard questions or make the tough decisions about limited resources.

Why aren't we funding highway construction through the lottery? why aren't we funding legislator salaries through the lottery? Why aren't we funding state medicaid expenditures through the lottery? I suspect it's because the General Assembly could not garner enough support for the lottery by tying it to those causes. If the lottery cannot stand on its own, then should it stand at all?

The percentage allocations are quite misleading. The 50%, 40% and 10% from Gerry's post at 6:50 pm yesterday do not make it clear that only 35% of net revenues will be allocated to education. From that 35% of revenue, 50% will go to .....

Today's N&O report on our neighbors responses to the lottery is yet another indicator that the governor and legislators are "gambling" with education.
"Operators in South Carolina and Virginia say they plan to aggressively market their lotteries and to offer prizes that will make their lotteries more attractive than what will be offered by North Carolina.

They said North Carolina's new lottery law -- guaranteeing that 35 percent of the proceeds will go to education -- will put the state at a competitive disadvantage. They said it will allow South Carolina and Virginia to offer larger and more frequent prizes, which they can advertise to North Carolina residents living near the border.


In response to "Your libertarian impulses are in conflict: a lottery increases your personal choices but only at the expense of larger governmental control."

I'd rather see it government run where the money may do some good for a greater population than run by a corporate entity whose only goal is to line its shareholders pockets. I may be for less government intervention, but I'm also against big money capitalism. I may be one of the few person on the list who thinks that capitalism has done more harm than good in modern society, but I can't really argue the fine points because its been years since I studied economic systems.

In response to Gerry's clarifications on the destination of lottery proceeds:

Public dollars in areas such as education should be thought of as at least partially fungible, regardless of the legal earmarking involved. In the preschool area, for example, Gov. Easley and others have argued that additional thousands of NC children should be in the programs because of the potential long-term educational and social benefits (I'm skeptical, by the way, when you get beyond a group of truly destitute, essentially unparented, children, but that's beside the point). In the absence of a lottery to fund these expenditures, it is likely that these advocates would have pushed for some program expansion anyway, as has happened in the past couple of years, using generally applied taxes as the funding mechanism. Now those taxes can either be cut or the revenues transferred elsewhere. That's supplantation.

Second, Gerry must have misspoken regarding the state's role in school construction. It does indeed fund school construction, though the function remains primarily a local responsibility. One pot of money for this came from a previous corporate income tax increase. Another is statewide bond money for schools, approved by voters nearly 10 years ago. There has been talk of proposing another statewide bond referendum for schools. Now, perhaps that won't happen or it will be smaller. Again, supplantation.

With lottery approval only days old, and tickets not to be sold for another six months, the bait and switch has already begun. From today's N&O:

Q: Still, couldn't the state spend less on education programs from the regular budget?

A: Easley indicated Wednesday that it's possible. The reason: He says lawmakers have been financing the pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds and some school construction efforts from future lottery money. He says those programs were "fronted" the money from the lottery. About $200 million is in the current state budget for those programs, which leaves open the possibility that some of that money could be diverted to other areas in the future.


well, I should be clearer on school construction funds, John is correct that there are and have been some state allocations to school construction, but it is primarily a local function.

The traditional notion of supplanting is that when new revenues come in, exitsing revenues are either cut or diverted to other uses (that's the fungability)

I think it takes the debate to another level to say that raising revenues for the lottery for FUTURE pre-K education increases instead of either (i) raising taxes; or (ii) not funding something else instead of pre-K, is somehow supplanting.



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