I don't envy Governor Perdue. Like every other governor, she's facing a disastrous economic situation, inherited from free-marketeers who held our nation hostage for eight long years. But that dire situation doesn't justify breaking a promise to the people of North Carolina about how the state will spend its gambling proceeds.
Last week, Gov. Beverly Perdue ordered $100 million in the state's fund for school construction be held back in the event North Carolina's general fund runs out of money to pay bills. The argument from the administration is that since the fund is made up from lottery ticket sales and corporate income taxes, it really isn't a grab at lottery funds. The practical effect, however, appears to be a clawback of $37 million in lottery ticket proceeds from state school districts.
The North Carolina Education Lottery has been a disastrous public policy from the get-go. Its only saving grace was the certainty that funds would be used exclusively for education. And now even that charade as been dropped.
We the people have learned over the years not to expect too terribly much when our elected leaders are under pressure. Cowered by the anti-government zealots on right, they'll contort every ethical bone in their bodies to avoid the hardest of choices. Apparently the choice to break a promise about the lottery is an easier call than the choice to raise the taxes on those who prospered most during Bush's horrific tenure.
Stop playing games, Governor. It's time to focus on raising revenue.