Gov. Bev Perdue today called on the General Assembly to raise additional revenue for our classrooms by regulating and taxing the thousands of sweepstakes games across North Carolina.
"I'm opposed to sweepstakes. I want to run them out of the state, but we have been unable to do that so far," Perdue said. "As long as they are here, we should regulate them, tax the heck out of them and use the money to fund our schools."
Under the House budget passed recently, K-12 schools in North Carolina would receive even less funding next year than they're receiving this year. That's after all the teacher cuts this year and concerns raised by superintendents. (Schools are receiving $7.72 billion this year, which includes $258 million in EduJobs money. The House budget provides $7.69 billion.)
In her budget, Gov. Perdue proposed restoring ¾ of the one-cent sales tax increase that the General Assembly let lapse last year in order to fill the hole that legislators left in the budget for schools, but the leadership in the General Assembly has been unwilling to consider it.
"The number of children showing up at the schoolhouse door is increasing. The demands on teachers are growing, but legislators are cutting the funding for our schools," Gov. Perdue said. "We need more revenue in order to rescue our schools, and so I'm calling on the General Assembly to consider this alternative."
After the legislature rammed their cuts through last year, schools were forced to cut 915 teachers, more than 2,000 teacher assistants and nearly 5,000 total jobs in education.
Some estimates suggest that this initiative could raise $300 million next year, or more, depending on how it's structured.