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Even with revenue deal, start of N.C. lottery no sure bet

North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: Even with revenue deal, start of N.C. lottery no sure bet

House and Senate Democrats have agreed how to distribute lottery proceeds, but it's hardly a sure bet that North Carolina will become the last state on the East Coast to run a numbers game this year.

The agreement, details of which were released late Monday with the final proposed $17.2 billion state budget for the coming year, includes a looser advertising policy than one approved by the House in April.

Even if both chambers approve the budget later this week, the lottery language won't enact the game itself, according to budget negotiators. The Senate still would have to approve the House's standalone bill to allow the state to begin offering scratch cards and lotto games.

Five Senate Democrats have publicly opposed a lottery. Unless some of the 21 Republicans vote yes, there wouldn't be enough votes to pass the standalone lottery bill in the 50-seat Senate.

The five "have not changed their mind," said Sen. Janet Cowell, D-Wake, one of the five Democrats who has serious reservations. Lottery support remains "very fragile," she added.

Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, a lottery supporter, predicted the standalone bill also could be voted on this week, but was coy about exactly when.

When asked if the lottery had the votes for passage, Rand responded: "You'll see when we vote. It'll be up on the (voting tally) board. But we think so. We wouldn't bring it up unless we thought we did."

The House and Senate each scheduled the first of two required votes on the proposed two-year budget late Tuesday.

The budget proposal eliminates some of the most high-profile cuts and cost-saving measures found in the House and Senate proposals.

Gone from the compromise is a $53 million reduction proposed by the Senate by moving 57,000 patients from dual Medicaid-Medicare coverage to Medicare only. But 8,000 also would have been without any medical coverage.

A $47 million reduction in money earmarked for local districts to hire teacher assistant was removed. Negotiators also removed House provisions that would have eliminated 500 seventh-grade and vocational education teachers.

Rand said it's possible that the Legislature could adjourn for the year as soon as this weekend. But House Speaker Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg, said "that would be pretty tough."

The lottery language inside the budget determines how net proceeds from a lottery _ projected to generate $400 million to $450 million annually _ would be distributed.

Fifty percent of the remaining revenues would go toward class-size reduction and More at Four pre-kindergarten initiatives pushed by Gov. Mike Easley, who has sought an education lottery since taking office in 2001.

Forty percent would be used for public school construction and the remaining 10 percent would go to college scholarships, according to legislative officials. Before any profits would be doled out, 5 percent of revenues would be placed in reserve.

An advertising ban in the House bill also would be eliminated, replaced instead with restrictions on how games could be marketed to North Carolina residents.

North Carolina's lottery commission could spend no more than 1 percent of annual gross revenues on commercials, billboards and other advertising. No ads could be targeted at minors or other groups, and ads must "include resources for responsible gaming," according to Senate Democrats. The commission also would have to spend $1 million annually for treatment of gambling addiction and treatment.

Rand said permitting advertising would make it easier for North Carolina to participate in multistate lottery games with big jackpots such as Powerball.

House Democrats, who have 63-57 advantage, also will have to decide whether they can support a budget that restricts but doesn't eliminate advertising. Black said he expects to have enough Democrats to pass the lottery changes within the budget, saying that the advertising restrictions may be the toughest in the nation.

"There are so many good things in the budget that we'll be able to pass one," he said.

On the budget, lawmakers managed to restore several education cuts in the budget by setting aside an additional $102.5 million in this year's budget for the public schools. They found the money after a state Supreme Court ruling last month expanded the list of civil penalties that the justices said should be funneled to the public schools.

Negotiators also signed off on spending millions of dollars scores of special projects, many sought by rank-and-file lawmakers for their districts back home.

Legislative leaders handled most of these items last year through discretionary pots of money they slipped into the budget. Black, Basnight and then-Co-Speaker Richard Morgan, R-Moore, essentially decided later which projects would receive money, after requests from members.

Black and Basnight said this year they would itemize the projects, which cover several pages in their budget report.

As expected, the 364-page text of the budget bill contained more than $600 million in new or extended taxes this year, including a 25-cent increase in the cigarette tax, now the lowest in the nation at 5 cents per pack.

A half-cent increase in the sales tax and an 8.25 percent income tax rate for the top wage earners also would stay in effect for another two years.

There's also higher driver's license and title fees, and higher taxes on candy, liquor and satellite television.

AP

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7 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by Rip Snorter.
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Sparta, NJ
United States
Member #18331
July 9, 2005
1977 Posts
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Posted: August 9, 2005, 9:11 am - IP Logged

Taxes on candy? Thats not fair!! Where did the sin-tax go astray?

Cheers

|||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice

    wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

    United States
    Member #15143
    May 10, 2005
    414 Posts
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    Posted: August 9, 2005, 3:42 pm - IP Logged

    Taxes on candy? Thats not fair!! Where did the sin-tax go astray?

    I'm sure it wasn't lobbied for by the state dental association, lol.

      LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
      Tennessee
      United States
      Member #7853
      October 15, 2004
      11338 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: August 10, 2005, 4:03 pm - IP Logged

      it just goes to show you how our government is wasting money on the most lame brained ideas.....

        Avatar
        New Member
        Riegelwood NC
        United States
        Member #20803
        August 26, 2005
        2 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: August 26, 2005, 4:17 am - IP Logged

        What did satalight TV do to get taxed? Could the cable TV industry be in the legislators pockets like everyone else with money to through around?

        I guess Easely won't have to keep stealing money from retirees and local governments so he can claim "I didn't raise taxes" now that he's raising taxes on every other thing in sight.

        And if the lottery passes our children will get to grow up learning to depend on gambling to support them selves and their families. One more reason for them to believe they don't need an education to get through life.

          Avatar
          New Mexico
          United States
          Member #12305
          March 10, 2005
          2984 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: August 26, 2005, 10:23 am - IP Logged

          One more reason for them (our children) to believe they don't need an education to get through life.

          Maybe the parents will have to glance up from the television screens occasionally to explain things to them.

          And if the lottery passes our children will get to grow up learning to depend on gambling to support them selves and their families.

          If the parents allow them to grow up believing that they'll be a long time getting them out of the house when they reach the age of consent.  They'll quickly unlearn any learning to depend on gambling to support them selves and their families, if parents eventually demand that they support themselves.

          Learning something as fundamentally flawed comes unlearned fairly rapidly.

          Jack

           

           

          Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

          It's about number behavior.

          Egos don't count.

           

          Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser

           

            Avatar
            New Member
            Riegelwood NC
            United States
            Member #20803
            August 26, 2005
            2 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: August 26, 2005, 8:11 pm - IP Logged

            One more reason for them (our children) to believe they don't need an education to get through life.

            Maybe the parents will have to glance up from the television screens occasionally to explain things to them.

            And if the lottery passes our children will get to grow up learning to depend on gambling to support them selves and their families.

            If the parents allow them to grow up believing that they'll be a long time getting them out of the house when they reach the age of consent.  They'll quickly unlearn any learning to depend on gambling to support them selves and their families, if parents eventually demand that they support themselves.

            Learning something as fundamentally flawed comes unlearned fairly rapidly.

            Jack

             

             

            It would be great if each point were on the money every time.  But usually it really does take a village to raise a child. 

            If we are not a society working together, we are just indiviuals working against one another.

              Avatar
              New Mexico
              United States
              Member #12305
              March 10, 2005
              2984 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: August 26, 2005, 8:19 pm - IP Logged

              I'd call that a fairly succinct description of what we're doing.  NC being a case in point.

              Jack

              Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

              It's about number behavior.

              Egos don't count.

               

              Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser