MAXIMIZING THE PAIN: State To Halt TOPS Payments To Colleges As Edwards Readies Demand For Tax Hikes

Here’s the classic Democrat playbook. If there have to be budget cuts, then make them the most painful and high-profile cuts possible so as to pressure the taxpayers to accept higher taxes.

This is how thieves and kidnappers, and liars in political office, operate.

The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance alerted colleges and universities Thursday that they were stopping TOPS payments immediately because of uncertainty related to the state budget.

“Due to the possibility of state budget cuts, all TOPS payments are being suspended until further notice,” said an email that went out to all TOPS eligible institutions at 3 p.m. “More details will be provided as information becomes available.”

What that means for students and parents is that every student who is currently receiving a TOPS scholarship could end up owing the remainder of the semester’s tuition that’s not already paid.

“In other words, if nothing changes, TOPS awardees will owe tuition to their schools for the current semester,” said Jason Droddy, executive director of policy and external affairs for LSU.

Gus Wales, a spokesman for LOSFA, said the email was sent out as a “precautionary measure, until we learn more about the implications of the potential budget cuts.”

TOPS is about $28 million over budget, out of what the governor says is an $870 million shortfall.

In about an hour, Gov. John Bel Edwards is going to take to the airwaves and demand that Louisiana’s voters accept a 20 percent increase in the state sales tax which would make combined state and local sales taxes in Louisiana the highest in the country, a 22-cent increase in cigarette taxes and a host of other tax increases. The TOPS suspension is leverage behind that demand.

It’s essentially a ransom note. Either pay up or the college kids get it.

Are there other budget cuts the state could make? Sure there are. Almost anything the state spends money on which goes to other governmental agencies could be put on an emergency footing. State aid to local governments could be cut, and those local governments could deal with ways to make up the shortfall on their own.

Instead, right before he gives his speech demanding more of your money he pops the most high-profile victims he can find – and specifically the middle-class parents whose kids go to state universities on TOPS scholarships.

Why? Because those parents voted for a Republican legislature, and they’re the ones who answer polls saying they don’t want tax increases. “Bet they’ll change their minds now,” goes the thinking in the governor’s office.

This is why we say the Democrats are nothing more than a criminal syndicate and they should never be put in positions of political power.

Proper management is to absorb cuts with as little pain to vulnerable people as humanly possible. It’s not to structure those cuts in such a way as to inflict maximum pain on the population so that they submit to higher taxes. That’s called tyranny. It’s what you would expect from organized crime, not responsible government.

It’s also exactly what you’d expect from John Bel Edwards.

It’s time to consider recalling this man. He’s not fit to govern this state.

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