Wednesday, April 12, 2006
by Rolfe McCollister
The TOPS scholarship program--along with the 8G fund--are probably the most successful investments and intelligent things the legislature has ever done. So why does state Sen. Cleo Fields want to take it away from some people? Is he crazy or just being political?
The TOPS program 1) keeps many of our best students, who would go elsewhere if not for the free tuition, in this state (Parents have told me that exact message); 2) rewards performance and creates incentive for all students; and 3) benefits the children and families of all taxpayers, including those who pay most of the taxes. Now that's a novel idea for Louisiana--let the folks who pay the money get some benefit from it.
Fields' bill, as originally written, allowed only families with income of $20,000 or below to qualify for the scholarship.
You pay a lot of taxes and what do you get for it? Good roads? Ha! Safe streets? A booming economy with lots of jobs?
No. In Louisiana, those who don't pay taxes get the larger share of benefits. We often reward not working and not getting an education. We have an entire hospital system to give away healthcare to the poor. Huey Long thought this was good politics. Edwin Edwards agreed.
Maybe that's why we have so much poverty in our state--we reward it.