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“Sanguine” Stam admits House budget is flawed

Apparently it doesn’t bother Rep. Paul Stam that the House budget he supports is playing games with revenue numbers and isn’t really balanced.

Stam, to his credit a longtime opponent of the predatory state lottery, tells the News & Observer that he is not happy with the plan to increase lottery revenue by doubling the advertising budget but that it did give him the chance to put more restrictions on advertising that will make it harder for the lottery to raise the  money that the budget forecasts.

Stam said the new restrictions mirror a bill he filed last year, known as the Honest Lottery Act, that he said “plants the seeds of the ultimate destruction of the lottery.” He believes the lottery dupes citizens into spending money without realizing how unlikely it is for them to win big.

Stam said he was not concerned that teacher raises are now tied closely to the promise of increased lottery sales.

If his effort instead stifles the lottery, lawmakers could shift money from elsewhere in the budget to pay for teacher raises, Stam said. He said he is supporting the overall plan to allow for more lottery ad spending because it also adopts his efforts to implement more restrictions.

“Am I happy about it? No,” Stam said. “I’m sanguine.”

Got that? Stam is supporting a budget that counts on regressive lottery revenue even though he added provisions to make it harder for the lottery to raise the revenue needed to fund the teacher raises called for in the spending plan.

Lawmakers could apparently “shift money from elsewhere.” Except lawmakers are voting on the budget now that explicitly counts on the additional lottery money. That’s quite a tangled semantic web that Rep. Stam seems to have weaved to ease his conscience for expanding the lottery he loathes.

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