GOP leaders: Lottery can provide cash for teacher raises - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

GOP leaders: Lottery can provide cash for teacher raises

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Representative debate using funds from increased lottery sales to pay for raises for teachers. Representative debate using funds from increased lottery sales to pay for raises for teachers.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Lady Luck could be footing the bill for teacher pay raises.

The proposed $21 billion House budget is looking to the North Carolina Education Lottery to raise the extra money.

But some say betting on the lottery may not be the best idea.

Mickey Michaux, a Democrat from Durham County, said, "They're hoping because of the increase in advertising that the lottery is going to raise that money. But it's not assured."

Rep. Bryan Holloway, a Republican from Stokes County, said, "We typically have lottery overages every year. So we feel very comfortable that we’re going to be able to do that."

Lawmakers in the legislature are debating how best to fund teacher pay raises.

Right now, the House is proposing a 5 percent raise, on average, for teachers. Of that, $106 million is projected to come from increased lottery sales.

"This would definitely be a stretch goal to raise $106 million next year for education," said Van Denton, spokesman for the Lottery. "But it is our mission to raise money for education."

Denton said the House proposal allows the state to double the money it spends on advertising from $17 million to $34 million a year. Also, the lottery is launching two new games.

It's no doubt many will keep their eyes on those lucky numbers to see if the lottery will be able to fund the extra money.

Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Republican who is the senior chairman of the House Appropriations committee, said, "The Lottery Commission has run the numbers. These are their numbers that are coming to us.

"We want to make sure that the lottery is truly supporting education."

Republican lawmakers also made it a point to make sure the lottery ads honestly portray what a consumer would get when buying a lottery ticket.

House leaders hope to approve the House budget by the end of the week.

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