GOP fulfills own prediction
When, by a single tie-breaking vote cast by then-Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, the Legislature’s Democratic majority succeeded in pushing through establishment of a state lottery, the Republican majority howled in protest. They correctly predicted that promises of additional money for public education would be broken and that the proceeds would be devoted toward other areas of government.
Though Perdue, as governor, would prove that prediction accurate as she raided the lottery fund to balance her first budget proposal, it is the N.C. Senate — under Republican control — now seeking to eliminate the arrangement entirely. The budget approved last month would radically alter the application of lottery proceeds to public schools, thus fulfilling the GOP’s own prophesy.
When the General Assembly first approved the lottery at the behest of Gov. Mike Easley, it set forth clear goals for where the proceeds would be applied. Under the bill, 50 percent would be used for early education and reducing class size, 40 percent would pay for school construction and 10 percent would pay for need-based scholarships. Since its passage in 2005, the N.C. Education Lottery has generated $2.69 billion for the state, including nearly $40 million for Pitt County.
With North Carolina’s economy reeling from the effects of the national recession, revenue collections plummeted in fiscal year 2008-09. ...
That stands as a massive mistake. So long as no impediment exists to prevent state lawmakers or the governor from diverting lottery funds, North Carolina can expect to see this approach repeated to the detriment of public education.