The most startling story over the weekend was the revelation in a report by the News & Observer that House leaders knew that the budget they passed last week was based on flawed numbers but passed it anyway.
The N.C. Education Lottery warned legislative staffers that the House’s plan to boost lottery sales by doubling the advertising budget would generate only $59 million next year – far less than the $106 million designated in the budget.
It is outlined in a fiscal memo sent to legislative staffers before the House voted Thursday and Friday to approve the $21.1 billion spending plan.
House budget chief Nelson Dollar wouldn’t say if he saw the memo before the House vote, which means of course that he definitely saw it. There’s no way the legislative staff would keep that information to themselves.
That means that Dollar and other House leaders knowingly misled their colleagues and the public by falsely claiming that the lottery would raise enough money to pay for the teacher pay raise.
It’s hard to know what is worse, cynically relying on the predatory lottery to raise money for teachers in the first place, or pushing ahead with the plan knowing that what they were saying on the House floor was not true.
Either way, it’s a shameful episode that once again calls into question the credibility of the folks currently running the General Assembly.