Look at this map that shows counties eligible for supplemental lottery revenue:
(FULL MAP page, plus explanation of methodology and tax distribution.)
A lot of questions creep into one’s mind:
1) Why does the distribution look this way?
2) a. Funds are going to counties that are losing population; b. extra funds are going to the poorest counties, which has some appeal on some levels, but these are also counties that are not growing, at least not growing quickly — so why do they need new schools? c. the justification we hear is that counties have to make an ‘above average’ effort locally, but there’s no measure for how well counties are meeting their own needs … (tax rates are certainly not a good proxy by themselves). So if it’s not poverty, what is it?
4) Why would you want to create a perverse incentive for poor counties to raise taxes to get lottery money? (Counties “at the margin” of tax rates have an incentive to raise taxes and get a piece of the pot; this can result in incremental “creep” of tax rates as counties edge each other out of the pot.)
5) Western NC keeps taxes relatively low and therefore is excluded from the lottery supplement. Why so (particularly since poor people can’t afford higher taxes, and revenues sometimes decrease due to Laffer-type effects)?
7) Union County’s entering this year has the potential to reduce the allocations to other counties with smaller school populations. Is this a desired result?
8) If Wake County increases its effective tax rate, it could be eligible for the lottery supplement. With Wake’s huge enrollment – and since the distribution is based on enrollment – Wake’s entry will pull money from other school districts. Is this a desired result?
9) Was this originally designed benefit legislators from Eastern counties most of which belong to the same party?
10) What’s Senator Pro Tem Marc Basnight (D-Dare) going to do now that his favored counties have been edged out of eligibility? Will he stick to the formula?