Democrats take your mark, & increasingly it appears to me that the Gov. appears to be the mark vs. the Board of Regents. -- HOPE & tuition increases.
The post revisited a 9-22-04 post entitled "Another boxing match possible in Georgia, and we're not talking about the Presidential race -- Tuition hikes forthcoming?," where we predicted that soon we might be seeing some real duels:
"[T]he first [could be] between Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor and/or Gov. Sonny Perdue -- to be determined by lot or draw -- versus University System Chancellor Thomas Meredith. The second, if won by the Chancellor, to be between the winner of the draw between the Lt. Gov. and the Gov."
The first-noted post concludes by confessing that I don't know where we are or where we are going, but that the battle now seems likely to be headed toward party lines rather than against the Chancellor, with House Speaker Terry Coleman joining the Lt. Gov. in being critical of the Gov.
In an ajc article we learn that Speaker Pro Tem DuBose Porter is joining the fray. "The outrageous part about all of this is it doesn't have to happen," says Porter, a member of the House Higher Education Committee. "The governor created an artificial budget crisis."
Regardless of blame, the reality will be, if the tuition increases come about, will change the financial equation for state officials who thought they had solved the HOPE Scholarship's money problems.
Now, lawmakers are wondering whether the tuition hikes — the first expected to be considered next week — will force them to revisit a program they worked for months to "reform" during the 2004 legislative session.
Because expenses were growing faster than lottery revenue, state lawmakers passed legislation on the final day of the 2004 session to create a tougher 3.0-grade-point-average requirement and to freeze the amount of HOPE payments for fees. The law also would eliminate book and fee payments, gradually, if the HOPE fund dipped for three years.
The background of the current "crisis" began in August, when Gov. Perdue notified state agencies that they would have to cut $179 million because he decided not to use an accounting gimmick — moving an employee payroll from one fiscal year to the next — to balance the state's budget. The University System's share of the cut is $68 million.
To make up some of the money, the system quickly started talking about a 10 percent tuition increase. About 40 percent of the dollars involved in the tuition increase would come from HOPE, according to one estimate.
And by the way, this adds to the excitement (for me anyway) about "the" post I have promised to make. I keep getting distracted by work (of all things), but it is coming, I promise. Again, stay tuned (and I want your help when it does come).