After the state House voted down a lottery proposal last year, Governor Easley promised the issue wasn't going to go away. It is a vow he has not forgotten. After a bruising debate and lobbying effort last year, lottery talk could hardly be heard during the first four months the General Assembly was in session this year.
But in the midst of another round of tough budget negotiations, Easley is again pushing and prodding lawmakers to pass lottery legislation in what could prove to be the waning days of the session. Not surprisingly, the lottery and budget have inevitably become intertwined.
Supporters tout the game as a way to boost revenue, and some advocates for the public schools and the poor have hopped aboard the lottery train in an effort avoid cutting the government programs they hold dear.
Still, House Co-Speaker Jim Black made clear last week that he had no intention of seeing any lottery proposal inserted into the budget bill.