Tax Foundation to Attend North Carolina Supreme Court Hearing on State Lottery

September 5, 2008


Joseph Henchman, Tax Counsel at the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation, will be in Raleigh on Monday, September 8, 2008 to view oral arguments for Heatherly v. State at the North Carolina Supreme Court. Henchman will be available for interviews Monday and Tuesday, September 8-9.

On March 18, 2008, the North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the North Carolina Education Lottery by a 2 to 1 vote in Heatherly v. State. The court majority held that the lottery is not a tax, and thus did not violate taxpayer protections requiring new taxes to meet certain procedural thresholds.

“The majority opinion misses the mark in an important way,” said Joseph Henchman, Tax Counsel at the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation, which submitted an amicus brief supporting the constitutional challenge. “While it is true that lottery ticket purchasers receive a benefit in the form of prizes and operation costs, that’s only 65 percent of what they pay. The other 35 percent goes straight to the government general fund, and that’s a tax.”

On May 19, 2008, the Tax Foundation filed friend-of-the-court brief with the North Carolina Supreme Court in Heatherly v. State, urging the court to reverse a lower court ruling.

The Tax Foundation’s amicus brief can be found at:

The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that has monitored fiscal policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937.


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