N.C. House lawmakers covered up budget shortfall | News
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Friday, June 20, 2014

N.C. House lawmakers covered up budget shortfall

Posted by on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 10:50 AM

The House budget is a gamble and lawmakers knew the odds were bad, so they tried to keep them secret.

The News and Observer reports that a key House budget negotiator, Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, told the executive director of the North Carolina lottery to keep quiet about concerns that increased advertising spending would not generate the $106 million in revenues predicted.

This is because lawmakers inserted strict lottery advertising provisions into the budget that weren’t originally accounted for.

Alice Garland, the lottery’s executive director, told the paper she spoke privately with Rep. Nelson Dollar, a key budget writer, to express her concerns about the advertising provisions three days before the budget passed the House.

The day after that conversation, the lottery commission provided House lawmakers with reports that put the revenue forecast with the advertising restrictions at a much lower $59 million, a $47 million shortfall.

But lawmakers made no changes to the budget and it passed the House in a 77-35 vote last Friday.

Garland told the N&O she didn’t take her concerns public because she had been told the information “came under legislative confidentiality.”

“I was trying to honor what I had been asked to do,” she said.

Garland said Dollar was the one who asked her to keep quiet.

“I didn’t say anything to her about that,” Dollar told the paper. “She expressed a concern but I didn’t have anything in writing about that.”

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