Local Politics

Budget Includes Bigger Lottery Payouts

Posted July 27, 2007

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— The state lottery could pay out bigger prizes and would have fuzzier guidelines for other spending if lawmakers approve the $20 billion state budget.

Gov. Mike Easley pushed for bigger payouts in recent months, saying it would spur sagging sales in the state-run numbers game.

The lottery generated sales of $889.3 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That was about 25 percent less than the $1.2 billion in ticket sales projected for the lottery's first full year.

The lower sales meant the lottery sent less money to North Carolina school districts. The lottery produced $313 million in education funds during the fiscal year, less than the $425 million legislators had projected when they wrote the 2006-07 state budget.

By law, the lottery is supposed to provide school districts with 35 percent of its revenue. Easley said that rule doesn't provide enough to encourage people to play.

"Percentages are one thing, but I have to have dollars. I can't spend percentages. I can spend dollars," he said. "What they're doing with this lottery language is allowing us to bring in more dollars."

Easley predicted that bigger payouts would bring in about $350 million for schools in the coming year.

Under the language in the proposed state budget, lottery commissioners would start following funding guidelines instead of the hard-and-fast rules they were given when the lottery was approved two years ago.

Some lawmakers said that could open the door to more advertising.

"I'm not sure what we want to do is give the lottery commission more discretion," Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, R-Guilford, said.

Easley said the lottery's advertising spending wouldn't change under the new budget.

Lawmakers said they want to retain control over any other changes in the lottery, however.

"I just want to make sure that the decisions on the lottery remain in the General Assembly and that any changes get a wide debate and are vetted," said Sen. Janet Cowell, D-Wake.

76 Comments

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  • Nancy Jul 28, 2007

    "I'm still waiting for the "Brothel for the Clildren" from Mike Sleasley. Now that the state is the primary beneficiary of cigarettes, liquor and gambling, can it be far behind?"

    roflmbo! That was funny, I'm just grateful I had not just taken a sip of my drink before I read it!!!

  • WRALSUCKS Jul 28, 2007

    "Also, the poorer and uneducated minorities don't play at a disproportionate rate than others."

    Care to back this up with facts, or is this just more speculation?

  • WRALSUCKS Jul 28, 2007

    State Gambling is a tax...a tax on the dumb.

    I'm still waiting for the "Brothel for the Clildren" from Mike Sleasley. Now that the state is the primary beneficiary of cigarettes, liquor and gambling, can it be far behind?

  • illegals--GO HOME Jul 28, 2007

    If you don't like the state lottery....then for pete sakes, don't buy a ticket. No one stands outside the stores that sell the tickets and drags customers in and MAKES them buy tickets!!! If I want to buy a ticket I do, but I don't blame anyone if I don't win anything as I know that is the risk I take. I don't play often, but if I choose to I will and am glad at least that this state decided to get on the bandwagon rather than have NC people buying tickets in other states and letting those states have any benefit at all from the money spent!!! We are all taxed to death as it is by government, and I can't see that changing any time in my lifetime.....it takes money to build schools, pave roads, cut the grass by the roadside, and so forth. The money will come from somewhere and I don't like it, but I do like to ride on a highway from time to time. LOL

  • ssumner2 Jul 27, 2007

    W R A L can you shut those two idiots up. taking up all that space just to argue with each other, and neither makes sense. (ashen sugar and nho quarter) I'm against the lottery and don't play. But it isn't completely non funded by the taxpayer. i want to hear from others besides you two

  • No Quarter Jul 27, 2007

    So now it is a tax! You have been arguing it isn't. I see who argues just to argue. Thanks for the laughs, Chuckles.

    -Uh, no...never said it was. Was just making a general point about taxes.

  • Trumpkin Jul 27, 2007

    People want to have their cake and eat it too...they want all the benefits of good infrastructure-roads, schools, etc., but they are so scared to fund it. How else can you have good infrastructure without taxes?
    No Quarter

    So now it is a tax! You have been arguing it isn't. I see who argues just to argue. Thanks for the laughs, Chuckles.

  • No Quarter Jul 27, 2007

    I don't like paying taxes either. I'd like to pay taxes on what I spend, rather than what I earn, but unfortunately I can't change that.

  • casp3r Jul 27, 2007

    Voice of Treason 23= I just spit beer all over my screen , I hope your are happy. I know it must have been like pulling teeth for you to defend any republican. lol

  • No Quarter Jul 27, 2007

    There you go, blame that "vast right wing conspiracy". Any opinion other than "the lottery is the best thing that ever happened to this state" is wrong. That is funny, even if it is rather sad that someone would have to find something to blame, rather than except that people could have differing opinions. I also wonder what you would be saying if wEasley had an R behind it.

    --I don't think the lottery is the best thing to happen to the state, but I also don't think it is so evil and wrong like most conservatives who comment about it. People want to have their cake and eat it too...they want all the benefits of good infrastructure-roads, schools, etc., but they are so scared to fund it. How else can you have good infrastructure without taxes?

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