Lottery is needed

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2005

What would North Carolina do with an extra 500 million dollars a year for education?

The possibilities are endless, new schools, higher teacher salaries, college scholarship programs or addressing the needs of disadvantages students.

The money is sitting at our state borders all we have to do is entice our residents with a lottery.

I am sure almost every citizen in our community has driven across the North Carolina border to Virginia.

I personally stop at the little store in Whaleyville and press my luck with a scratch off lottery ticket.

The point of it is not to get rich or dreams of huge sums of money, it is purely entertainment.

Governor Mike Easley made the perfect point &uot; We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars, North Carolina dollars, to build new schools in other states, while we are packing our kids in trailers at home. We are the only state playing the lottery and gives away the proceeds.&uot;

I lived the past 27 years in Michigan, a state with a lottery.

My sister is also a schoolteacher in a Detroit suburb.

She works in a school district where she does not have to beg, borrow and steal for supplies or textbooks.

She makes a great living wage and loves what she does.

In my hometown they just built a new school, I am sure partially funded by lottery money.

Wouldn’t it be great to go to school in a new building with adequate supplies and teachers who make enough money to want to stay in the school districts.

Turnover is rare for teachers in Michigan school districts. I am sure would be the same here if the recourses were valuable to them.

I have been doing research trying to understand the logic of the lottery critics.

I have a hard time understanding why people would be against something with such a positive benefit.

I read on the Baptist Convention of North Carolina website in an article entitled &uot;Majority Want Lottery Killed In Legislature&uot; Jim Royston executive director-treasurer of the convention said raising money through a lottery is a bad idea.

He went on further to say, &uot;Instead of making the difficult budget decisions to properly fund schools through fair taxation and cut programs with no positive effect, bad legislatures want to seduce gullible, desperate folks who can least afford it to fund the schools with their grocery money.&uot;

I started laughing when I read his quote.

The programs being cut from our budget are the ones aimed to help the poor, desperate folks.

I have not driven through Virginia or South Carolina and seen the population living in poverty and begging on the streets.

A lottery is like anything else; use it for fun and in moderation.

If you know you are an alcoholic, you stay away from the bars; same with the lottery, if you know once you spend the dollar you will not be able to stop then don’t do it.

The residents of North Carolina need to wake up and see the benefits.

If we do not support a lottery, the budget deficit has to be made up from somewhere and the proposed new taxes will affect everyone.

The governor has even proposed a newspaper tax, so the next time you read my column you could be paying a little more if the lottery is voted down.