Scott Mooneyham has a column out on the state lottery that’s definitely interesting and worth a read. A highlight:
No matter who was in charge, in most years, [North Carolina] legislators deviated from the distribution formula. By just about any measure, some portion of the $480 million in lottery profits had been going for purposes once funded by tax dollars.
What the current legislature has done is stop pretending, even if the decision could harm the funding area least subject to the shell game — local school construction.
That there is no hue and cry regarding the decision should not come as a surprise. Public support of the lottery stemmed mostly from the fact that a majority wanted to be able to play the games, not that they clamored for some alternative revenue stream for schools.
Within political circles, the lottery was always more about partisan advantage than improving schools.
Across the South, Democratic politicians and their handlers used the lottery to bludgeon Republicans and win gubernatorial contests. Republican politicians, trapped because of primary contests decided by social conservative voters opposed to a lottery, mostly sat quietly and took their beating.
So even in a South turning increasingly red, Democrats like Zell Miller in Georgia and Jim Hodges in South Carolina rode lottery support to gubernatorial wins. [Mike] Easley did the same.