North Carolina has one of the United States' youngest lottery systems, having been enacted in 2005. The North Carolina State Lottery Act created the 9-member Lottery commission who was charged with overseeing all aspects of the education lottery. 100% of North Carolina Lottery net proceeds go directly to benefit the state's education with the current figure sitting at $2.69 billion since its inception. By law, lottery funds go to paying teacher salaries for grades K-3, school construction, need-based college financial aid, and pre-kindergarten for at-risk four year olds. The State Lottery Act outlines how each and every dollar produced by the lottery will be spent. In 2012, the revenue distributions were as follows: 60% was paid out in prizes, 29% was transferred into the education fund, 7% was paid to the retailers who sold lottery tickets, and 4% went to general lottery expenses.
The controversial lottery proposal was approved on August 31, 2005, after then-Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue cast a tie-breaking vote in the North Carolina Senate.
North Carolina, traditionally associated with the Bible Belt, was the only state on the East Coast without a lottery. The issue divided lawmakers and the public alike. At the time, the opposition of nearly every Republican and a minority of Democratic lawmakers (consisting of progressives) made the passage of a lottery unlikely. These groups denounced the lottery as a regressive tax on the poor. However, on August 30, 2005, two lottery opponents (Harry Brown, R-Jacksonville and John Garwood, R-North Wilkesboro) had excused absences. With this known, a special vote was called, which was 24-24. Lt. Gov. Perdue cast the tiebreaking vote, signaling the way for Gov. Easley to sign it into law. The vote would have been defeated had the absent senators paired their votes.
In February 2009, to reduce a budget shortfall, Gov. Perdue withheld approximately $88 million to fill shortfalls in the North Carolina budget. Perdue emptied the $50 million lottery reserve, also withholding $38 million allocated for a school construction budget in direct conflict with the mandate of the NCEL. This controversial move by the Governor prompted North Carolina lawmakers on March 10, 2009 to propose a name change to the NCEL, to remove "Education" from its name.
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Cultural potpourri: Some peripheral issues that matter — Cherokee Tribune
At least our educational lottery is aptly named, although its full name should be Hope So. That better describes the obviously needy souls who stand in front of me in the gas station lines.
Hope for the affluent: higher-income families seen as main beneficiaries of lottery-generated scholarships.: An article from: Diverse Issues in Higher Education
Book (Cox, Matthews & Associates)