The FY 2019-20 Senate budget proposal includes a provision to allow the North Carolina State Lottery Commission to increase the amount it spends on advertising from 1 percent to 1.5 percent of total annual lottery revenue.

The goal of increasing advertising is to generate more interest in the purchase of lottery tickets.

With increased lottery ticket sales comes increased revenue to the state government, money that comes from the pockets of North Carolina taxpayers. The lottery was sold on the promise of getting more money into the classroom. That hasn’t happened. The Senate proposal recommends spending most of the lottery revenue on expenses such as noninstructional personnel and the public school building capital fund.

We’re told the increased advertising revenue is designed to raise even more funds for the public schools. It’s really an effort to collect an even greater amount of funds for the government.

The goal is for government to increase the amount of funds it collects. This proposal is akin to a tax increase, and is also a very inefficient means for raising more revenue. The administrative rate of return is very poor in terms of marginal increase in revenue collected per marginal increase in advertising dollars.

Because it’s inefficient, hurts the poor and doesn’t do what it professes to accomplish, the Senate has plenty of reasons why it should amend their budget plan to remove this provision.

Civitas Action is a 501(c)(4) non-profit that educates and informs North Carolinians on policy issues and the actions of their elected officials.