A bill that would accomplish the No. 1 legislative goal for counties for 2014 was filed this week by Rep. Bryan Holloway of Stokes County. H1107 (Restore Lottery $ for School Construction) would increase to 27 percent the appropriation to counties of lottery funds for 2014-15 and restore the full 40 percent allocation to counties by 2016-17. It also directs that counties receive excess lottery revenues above appropriated levels each year beginning with the 2014-15 fiscal year.
“Restoring the statutes that designate 40 percent of lottery funds to counties for school construction and increasing the appropriation for 2014-15 is counties’ No. 1 legislative goal for this session,” said NCACC Executive Director David F. Thompson. “Funds from the lottery are the only remaining state support for public school capital needs. Counties need the lottery revenues to help keep up with the demand for new construction and renovations to existing facilities to meet the needs of a modern education system.”
When the lottery was passed, counties were designated to receive 40 percent of the proceeds each year, plus a share of any excess proceeds. Counties have not received the full 40 percent or any of the excess proceeds for each of the past four fiscal years. The Legislature has capped the county appropriation at $100 million for each of the past three years (see chart). For the 2013-14 fiscal year, the $100 million appropriation represents barely more than 20 percent of lottery proceeds – roughly half of what counties were promised to receive.
In 2013 the General Assembly removed the statute that specified counties as a beneficiary of 40 percent of net lottery revenues and permanently eliminated the share of the state corporate income tax that was designated to county school construction needs.
“It is very important to restore the statute that identifies counties and school construction needs as a prime beneficiary of lottery funds,” said Thompson. “Without that intent expressed in the statutes, future Legislatures may opt to spend all lottery funds on other state education needs.”
Editor’s note: The NCACC has compiled a chart on its website that shows county-by-county lottery appropriations for each of the last four fiscal years and how much each county would have received if the full 40 percent had been appropriated.