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N.C. lottery foes caught in game of 'Wack-a-Mole'

North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: N.C. lottery foes caught in game of 'Wack-a-Mole'

North Carolina residents and lawmakers opposed to a lottery in their state find themselves figuratively caught in a game of Wack-a-Mole, in which their foes keep popping up despite their best efforts to knock them down.

The latest pro-lottery weapon:  tax threats.

N.C. senators today could be faced with either passing a state lottery or endorsing higher taxes for dozens of counties.

The House passed a bill 73-42 Monday that would allow dozens of counties — including Mecklenburg and Catawba — to raise their sales tax by one-half cent to pay for school construction.

Voters in each county would have to approve the taxes through a referendum.

Rep. John Rhodes, a Cornelius Republican, tried to get Mecklenburg removed from the tax bill. But other Mecklenburg lawmakers, including Reps. Pete Cunningham, Becky Carney and Drew Saunders, successfully opposed him. All are Democrats.

The House bill gives another tool to Senate lottery supporters.

Senate leaders can present lottery opponents with two options to pay for new schools — the lottery or a tax — and pressure them to back one or the other.

Polls have shown a lottery is popular with voters, and taxes usually aren't, adding more pressure on opponents. Senate leaders haven't said publicly that they would hold a lottery vote. But recent moves give it a chance of coming up for a vote.

Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight, a Manteo Democrat, said Wednesday that he was giving up on a lottery this year, since 26 of the 50 senators had pledged to vote against it. That's all 21 Republicans and five Democrats.

Basnight also said senators were finished with voting on major issues for the year.

But he reversed course Friday, announcing that senators would hold full-fledged meetings starting today and stay in Raleigh "until our legislative business is finished."

In another twist, lottery opponents might be losing some "no" votes.

Charlotte Democrat Sen. Dan Clodfelter has asked for an excused absence from the session today, according to The Associated Press, but he could still show up for any vote.

Sen. John Garwood of North Wilkesboro, a Republican whose opposition to the lottery is wavering, also will be excused; he is recovering at home from a staph infection.

A third senator, Harry Brown, R-Onslow, also may be absent, Republican leaders said Monday.

Under the Senate's archaic rules, Garwood could attempt to register his "no" vote by "pairing" his vote with a colleague who would vote "yes." But he said Monday afternoon he hasn't tried.

"I'm just rethinking my position," said Garwood, 73, whose mountain district has been blitzed with radio ads calling on him to switch sides.

Lottery backers need Garwood to vote "yes" or they need both him and another opponent to "take a walk" during any lottery vote.

Either move would create a tie that Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat and lottery backer, would break.

Rep. Bill Owens, a Democrat from Elizabeth City, helped craft the tax bill. He's also the House's chief lottery advocate.

Lottery Post Staff and Charlotte Observer

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6 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by Rip Snorter.
Page 1 of 1
Avatar
New Mexico
United States
Member #12305
March 10, 2005
2984 Posts
Offline
Posted: August 30, 2005, 12:48 pm - IP Logged

Sen. John Garwood of North Wilkesboro, a Republican whose opposition to the lottery is wavering, also will be excused; he is recovering at home from a staph infection.

Must have gotten hold of some bad wack-a-mole. 

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

 

    Ladyluck2005's avatar - underground
    Denver, CO
    United States
    Member #13465
    April 6, 2005
    68 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: August 30, 2005, 2:21 pm - IP Logged

    gotta love NC's way of gov't.

    Only in NC

      Tenaj's avatar - michellea
      Charlotte NC
      United States
      Member #17406
      June 18, 2005
      4053 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: August 30, 2005, 2:35 pm - IP Logged

      PASS OUT!!!! NC HAS PASSED A LOTTERY! 

       

      tenaj

        Avatar
        New Mexico
        United States
        Member #12305
        March 10, 2005
        2984 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: August 30, 2005, 2:54 pm - IP Logged

        Congratulations all you Narth Carolinianianians!

        Let's hope they get some scratch-offs with Jeff Davis and RE Lee on them to give the legislators something else to get het up about. 

        You scratch it, get a Bull Run, Antietem and a Fort Sumter, you wins a trip up the Shenendoah Valley on horseback, something of that kind.  Need to get JimmySands working on this.

        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

         

          dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

          United States
          Member #2338
          September 17, 2003
          2063 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: August 31, 2005, 12:15 am - IP Logged

          I thought by mole they meant moles inside the anti-lottery crowd reveiling how much money they were getting from indian casinos.

            Avatar
            New Mexico
            United States
            Member #12305
            March 10, 2005
            2984 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: August 31, 2005, 8:41 am - IP Logged

            A tidy sum, most likely.  The Indians have religious objections to lotteries being located on the holy ground near a casino.

            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