The Carolina Journal today offers another unethical article designed to hurt the Democratic Party at large. Mitch Kokai pens...types the article "Lottery Fund Switch Causes Concern:
Supplanting of current funding with lottery money worries lawmakers." And, indeed, it does. The idea that just mere months after the lottery was passed it is already being used to cut education funding confirms everyone's worst fears. The Carolina Journal does nothing to allay these fears.
RALEIGH — News that more than $200 million from the new state lottery could replace existing education spending is “not just disconcerting, it’s shocking.” That’s according to a lawmaker who voted last spring to support the lottery.
“Some of us who did — even against the rest of our party — step out and take that stand, you almost feel used,” said Rep. Carolyn Justice, R-Pender.
The article goes on to lay the lottery at the feet of Democrats, where it rightfully belongs, by saying that Democrats convinced several Republicans to switch sides. The article sets the tone that these Republicans now feel used by the Democratic Party's plans to take these funds and supplant education spending.
Most Republicans in the House and Senate voted against the lottery bill. Some say they don’t like the latest developments. “It is a concern,” said Sen. Jim Forrester, R-Gaston. “My understanding was the lottery money was going to be additional money given to the schools — to the pre-kindergarten, to reduce class sizes — not to take away or supplant money.”
The problem? It isn't true.
The governor’s office has released a statement on the topic to some media outlets. "Education lottery money will supplement, not supplant existing spending for education, and I will not recommend nor sign legislation that reduces the state's spending for education," Gov. Mike Easley said in the prepared statement Tuesday.
"Since 2001, when we began pre-K and class size reduction efforts, I have consistently said that once an education lottery was enacted, we would use the proceeds to fund these priorities permanently,” Easley’s statement said...In addition, the education lottery funds college scholarships and school construction as provided by law."
A quote from a 2004 article discussing his long-held belief that the lottery should fund reduced kindergarten class size and More at Four; showing this isn't just last minute cover.
Easley wanted a state-run lottery that would provide a revenue stream for his pet education initiatives...Every year since 2001, Easley has made reduced class sizes in kindergarten through grade three and More at Four, his signature program to prepare 4-year-olds for public school,
I have to give the CJ credit for at least printing Governor Easley's statement. Other outlets have just gone straight into attack mode and disregarded the statement. Could Easley go about supplanting money in education? Theoretically yes. However, probably half the votes in favor of the lottery (or more) would disappear should that occur, in which case I think we would see immediate action by the legislature to change the law or to put it into the Constitution - where no future governor or legislator could get around using the money as expected.