Rick Gallot’s Class-Warfare TOPS Assault

How about some sadness and outrage this morning?

At the Legislature, they’re debating the future of the TOPS program this session. The Senate voted yesterday by a 27-9 count to decouple TOPS award amounts from tuition rates, meaning that a TOPS award won’t automatically cover 100 percent of tuition costs. Gov. Bobby Jindal said he doesn’t support that bill, but a 27-9 vote in the Senate is enough to override a Jindal veto.

How the House votes on the bill is a question – one would think it will pass, but whether it can pass with a 2/3rds vote that would sustain a veto is unknown at this point.

The TOPS bill essentially frees up the universities to raise their prices to meet what the market will pay and what their budgets will require, and by decoupling TOPS from tuition it’s not futile to raise tuition from a state budget standpoint. If state general fund subsidies go down and tuition rises, and it’s all covered by TOPS, that’s a good result for making the state’s public colleges accountable to the marketplace but it doesn’t actually save the state treasury any money – and with a $1.6 billion deficit, saving money is paramount.

Everybody knows, moreover, that TOPS is too easy for kids to get. The program is expanding out of what it used to be – a scholarship intended to keep the state’s best high school graduates from departing for out-of-state college locales – and is now more of a straight-up entitlement.

But there’s a problem; if you raise the standards by which kids get TOPS, it will negatively affect poor and minority students who don’t have the educational advantages that rich white kids – who the Left has been howling get too much TOPS money currently – frequently take advantage of to meet TOPS requirements.

And since today’s Democrats don’t respect any rewards through state action based solely on merit without demanding set-asides and redistribution and “social justice,” it’s unacceptable to have a program like TOPS which would even incidentally benefit rich white people more than poor black people.

Therefore, raising TOPS standards in order to limit the money being spent on TOPS is a non-starter.

Yes, we recognize the inherent racism in saying that black kids can’t get TOPS if you raise the standards. We reject that assumption, but the opposition to increasing the standards comes from the Left, and on the basis of race. You can chew on the question of who the racists are in this debate at your leisure.

Race didn’t come up overtly yesterday during the debate over SB 48, but Sen. Rick Gallot (D-Ruston) did attempt to bring it in through the back door by playing class warfare.

Gallot tried to bring an amendment that would have the TOPS program discriminate against kids whose families earn $1 million per year or above by denying them access to TOPS scholarships. Most would agree the majority of kids affected by such a policy would be white kids, with the exception of children of Saints or Pelicans players who would be more likely to be black based on the teams’ current rosters. In any event, it’s the same old divisive. Eat The Rich screwjob the Democrats can’t stop attempting.

Our pal Nick Bouterie popped him on Twitter for it…


It ought to be noted here that the entire purpose of TOPS when it was instituted was not to give away free college. The purpose of TOPS was to stop all the state’s best high school students from heading out of state for college, and then never returning to Louisiana to put their intelligence and education to work earning money they could then pay in taxes. Because being on the wrong side of a brain drain can have a negative effect on the public fisc.

Gallot couldn’t care less about that purpose, or the state strategizing to keep its top potential earners from voting with their feet. It’s all class warfare, all the time with him.

And unless you can satisfy the greed of the Gallots of the world you can’t make positive change. Luckily, few in the Louisiana Senate are receptive to his brand of class warfare.



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