A year later, about three-hundred million dollars short. When state lawmakers approved the lottery, lottery officials predicted the games would generate $1.2 billion dollars for the state within the first fiscal year. Projections now show the gross revenue around $900 million. North Carolina Education Lottery Executive Director Tom Shaheen says less money is still more money for schools that the state wouldn't have without the games of chance. He said, "300 million dollars that we didn't have a year ago." $300 million for education. 35 percent of state lottery revenue is earmarked for education, so the money for school construction, class size reduction and college scholarships stands $125 million less than originally predicted. Lottery officials say part of the reason for sagging sales is low prize pay outs. Sheehan said, "Players call in, retailers tell us on a daily basis, (and say) that the instant tickets, they'd like to see more prizes in those." Governor Easley's 2007 budget proposal lowers the percentage for education, putting the extra money into bigger prize payouts, in theory raising total lottery revenue, thereby giving more money to education in the long run. Some lawmakers who voted for the education lottery don't like this plan, saying it would encourage gambling with no guarantee of increasing education money. When Easley proposed the idea in February, Senator Julia Boseman said, "Raising the prizes for the lottery and reducing the amount going to education is just not something that I would support in order to encourage people to play the lottery." Whether any changes will be made will be up to the General Assembly.
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