Local News

Lawmaker wants to expand use of lottery proceeds

Posted June 26, 2008 6:19 p.m. EDT
Updated June 26, 2008 9:38 p.m. EDT

— The way lottery proceeds go to benefit education in North Carolina needs to change, at least one state lawmaker says.

This fiscal year, the lottery raised nearly $319 million for public schools, while state education leaders say they are facing a $50 million budget shortfall in diesel fuel costs and teacher bonuses.

Lottery funds must go to uses designated by legislation, including school construction, early childhood education and scholarships.

State Sen. Phil Berger, R-Guilford, said uses for lottery funds need to be expanded to allow them to pay for anything related to schools.

"The message was being delivered that if we pass the lottery, we'll have plenty of money for education. That's just not the case," Berger said.

However, other state lawmakers, including Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, said changing that formula would be harmful.

"Of course, it would hurt the programs it was intended for," Rand said.

He said legislators must work to find funding sources for bonuses and fuel elsewhere.

"We are going to make sure we take care of our children," he said.