03/22/06 — Watch the money: State’s new revenue stream must be managed responsibly

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Watch the money: State’s new revenue stream must be managed responsibly

Now that the lawsuit challenging the lottery vote has been dismissed, there is a good possibility that next week, North Carolina residents will be able to purchase lottery tickets for the first time.

There is still a chance for another appeal claiming that the vote that put the new lottery into place was done illegally, but until that happens, the March 30 debut is a go.

There is reason to be a little uncomfortable with how North Carolina’s lottery came about earlier this year. A feeling that perhaps residents did not get the full story — or that there was a whole lot of manipulation behind the scenes to get the “yes” vote — is more than a little strong.

So, residents who aren’t sure they want to just accept that North Carolina now has a lottery are certainly justified in their doubts and questions.

However, now that there is a lottery and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon, North Carolinians need to keep a close eye on how it is administered and where the money goes.

Making sure that they have all the information — and that their legislators act responsibly and in the best interest of the residents — is particularly important now.

The lottery might end up being a good addition to North Carolina’s revenue stream — and help a few students and schools at the same time.

But making sure that happens will require more than a little attention to detail and a few more questions as the process begins to unfold this spring.

That is the way to make sure the new lottery doesn’t become a bureaucratic boondoggle.

Published in Editorials on March 22, 2006 10:38 AM