Saturday, January 24, 2015

State Needs To Reform Lottery

The NC lottery was passed under questionable circumstances. Governor Mike Easley and the Democratic controlled legislature jammed it through while some GOP lawmakers were out of town or with sick family members. It came into being in a bad way and today it functions in a bad way. 
According to the last fiscal year only 503 million dollars were contributed to education. That sounds like a lot but when you divide that by the State budget allocation to education of $11,000,000,000, it is only 4% of the funding. 
The legislature routinely uses lottery funds to balance the  budget. Instead of keeping funding at a consistent rate, many times they cut the portion of lottery funds to education if overall general fund spending on education goes up. 
If we are going to use the title, "education lottery", we should spend most of it on education. 
 About 30% of all lottery revenue goes to education. According to even if 100% of the proceeds were given to education funding it would be a paltry 19% of education funding. 
We need to make some common sense  reforms to the education lottery. 
1. Education only- make the education lottery strictly for education. No more robbing Peter to pay Paul. 
2. Increase the % of lottery revenues allocated to education no less than 50%.
3. Make the lottery funding a true supplement. Instead of using it to make up a shortfall or to complete the funding, make it in addition to. So instead of $11,000,000,000 you would have $11,503,100,000. 
The legislature, originally, promised 40% of the lottery revenue share would be for the capital project fund. That number is more like 22%. This legislature needs to fulfill their promise to our local schools. 
I was not for the lottery, but it's here to stay. The least they, the legislature, could do is spend most of it on education. 

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