Growth for the North Carolina Education Lottery is being sought from an unusual source - Republicans.
The House budget approved late last week demands another $106 million in net lottery profits to help the GOP-led chamber raise teacher salaries on average by 5 percent. The bill helps the lottery get there by doubling the amount it can spend on advertising the games.
The budget votes put some social conservatives in the House on the spot because they think gambling is wrong. It turned out only one Republican voted against the plan.
Republicans offered the most opposition to the lottery's passage in 2005. Now lawmakers only talk about repealing it in theory. Instead, they emphasize lottery revenues for education and making sure it operates honestly.
The North Carolina Education Lottery says it can generate barely half the extra profits the House wants toward its government budget to help fund teacher pay raises next year if advertising changes within it become law.
The News & Observer reported Saturday on a fiscal memo it obtained in which the lottery told General Assembly staffers it can provide $59 million more - not the $106 million in the House budget approved Friday.
The newspaper says documents show the House's projection didn't take into account proposed restrictions on lottery advertising as the cap on ad spending increases.
A lottery spokesman said Saturday the agency has no objection releasing the information, but Speaker Thom Tillis' office first wants the Attorney General's Office to determine whether the information is considered confidential.
North Carolina public school teachers would get average 5 percent raises without having to give up any job protections in the budget proposal House Republicans have written.
The Associated Press obtained a document outlining the $21.1 billion spending plan getting debated in budget subcommittees Tuesday. It should clear the full House by the end of the week.
The Senate budget proposal approved last month gave average raises of more than 11 percent but required veteran teachers to give up their tenure. The Senate also cut money for teacher assistants in half. The House proposal demands neither.
The House measure also gives flat $1,000 salary raises to state employees. The House budget avoids the Senate's provisions to trim the Medicaid rolls and reject Gov. Pat McCrory's Medicaid reform plan.