Christian Action League
June 11, 2014
In the North Carolina House Budget proposal there is matter that needs a response from John Q. “Christian” Public.
Budget writers, led by our friends in the NCGOP, want to raise the cap on lottery advertising from 1% of lottery sales to 2%. They project that it would generate as much as $106 million for the state, helping pay for a much needed raise in teacher salaries. They contend it’s a better alternative to the Senate’s plan of garnering revenues for the raise by cutting public education in other places.
To be fair, not all House Republicans are happy with the proposal. They disdain the lottery. Nevertheless, as House Majority Leader Rep. Edgar Starnes (R-Caldwell) told the Associated Press, the shortfall in revenues this year left lawmakers with poor choices.
To appease many of the concerns social conservatives have about the lottery and its negative effects, House budget writers also included language in the budget from Rep. Paul Stam’s (R-Wake) proposed, “Honest Lottery Act” – a measure that requires lottery advertising to disclose the longer odds of winning.
Granted, a budget shortfall leaves lawmakers with difficult choices. And, House budget writers deserve to be commended for trying to suppress some of the negative effects of doubling lottery advertising. Still, I suggest any effort to raise teacher salaries on the backs of people’s addictions ought to be rejected.
Undoubtedly, many will argue the lottery represents a matter of “personal freedom”. “No one forces anyone to buy a lottery ticket,” they say. “It’s a ‘voluntary act.’” But what isn’t often realized is that the vast majority of lottery profits are supplied by people who are habitual gamblers. Stop Predatory Gambling rightly contends “state lotteries make 80% of their profits from 10% of their users.”
In other words, the lottery business model depends on addiction. No matter how piously the words “personal freedom” may be bandied about, people addicted to gambling and consequently deep in debt are really not free. In a state and nation where liberty is considered our most sacred right, it is unconscionable the state promotes something that sustains or profits state coffers because it renders many citizens expendable to a form of slavery. No North Carolinian should be reduced to collateral damage because teachers need, want, or even deserve a pay raise.
Increasing lottery advertising will likely increase lottery sales, but it will also enslave more people to the insidious practice of playing a “sucker’s game.” In the interest of a truly just society, there must be a better way.
Take Christian Action Now:
First, let me encourage you to stop and pray for House lawmakers. Pray that God will give them great wisdom in finding ways to meet all of our state’s needs. Their lot is not an easy one and we should earnestly pray for them.
Second, let me urge you to take the time to contact your lawmaker in the North Carolina House and urge him or her to reject any effort to include an increase in lottery advertising as a part of the budget bill.
There is no time to waste. Please do it now. Budget writing, negotiations, and amendments are moving quickly and the House is expected to vote on their version of the budget by Thursday or Friday.
Here’s how to contact your Representative in the NC House:
Go to the “Who Represents Me” page of the NC General Assembly website;
Type in your address in the “Find address or place” search field at the top of the NC House Map;
Click on the district in which your address is located, and then click “Open Member Page;”
Call the Phone Number nearest the top of your Representative’s contact information (directly underneath their legislative office address);
If you don’t get to speak directly to your Representative, speak with his Legislative Assistant. Be sure to tell either your Representative or his/her Legislative Assistant that you are a constituent, giving your name, place of residence, and phone number.
Thank you for responding to this Urgent Christian Action Alert. You may be tempted to believe otherwise, but your response can make a difference.
Dr. Mark Creech
Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.