Issue Number 6 – A Lottery is an Unfair Tax on North Carolina’s Hardworking Families

North Carolina Citizens for a Sound Economy today released Issue Number 5 of its ongoing effort to educate elected officials and citizens on why a government-run lottery is bad business and public policy.

Low income families carry a greater burden under a lottery.

Lottery proponents want us to believe that a lottery is simply a voluntary tax that effects all segments of a state equally. Unfortunately studies show that low-income shoulder a greater burden of a lottery than do wealthier citizens. This occurs because they spend a greater percentage of their income buying lottery tickets in hopes of striking it rich. Although a lottery may be voluntary it does not excuse the regressive nature of this system of collecting taxes.

Even more unfortunate is that as lottery profits are tied into education a reverse funding may be created, that is, less tax dollars will be given to education. This creates an inverse effect where the low-income families are paying to finance education through the lottery and since the less affluent are more likely to be trapped in failing schools, it will be the wealthier families’ children who will benefit from the disadvantaged playing the lottery.

“It is not right to over burden any one group with the cost of education, and that is what a lottery will do for low-income families in North Carolinians,” said North Carolina CSE Director Jonathan Hill. “If politicians truly want to help the less fortunate they will start by cutting unnecessary government spending and taxes.”