If a student has depended upon or counted on in
their future the Taylor Opportunity Program for Scholars to fund fully their tuition,
or is a university administrator searching for revenue, it’s not the end of the
world, it’s the just the real world.
For the first time since its founding as a
statewide quasi-merit, quasi-entitlement program almost two decades ago, the
state will pay only a portion of total tuition bills to attend Louisiana
institutions of higher learning. Before
State University System schools raised their tuitions this week that
changes overall calculations slightly downwards, the typical state public
institution student would see 95 percent of the bill covered in the fall and,
unless unanticipated revenues emerge before the end of the year, around 40
percent for terms in the first half of next year.
Some have taken to declare the end is nigh for the
higher education experience in the state, where about a fifth of all students
use the program. That proportion nearly is four times higher at LSU Baton
Rouge, given its (relatively) stricter admission standards, large contingent of
traditional (first-time, full-time) undergraduate students, and highest
in-state tuition, leading its Pres. F. King Alexander to lament that the cut
will cost the campus students and thus revenues.
Last month Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards issued
an executive order that will do nothing to save state taxpayers money or
promote economic development and will increase the incentives for local
governments to make deals to empower them, if not steer preferential treatment
towards local politicians and their allies.
Edwards’ JBE 16-26
covers the way in which the state implements its Industrial Tax Exemption
Program. This allows the state through its Board of Commerce and Industry, most
of whose members the governor appoints and serve concurrently with him, to give
out exemptions from, among things, local property taxes for five or ten years. Statute
deliberately defines these breaks as needed because of the uncompetitive tax
structure in Louisiana that means businesses pay most property taxes.
By the Constitution and regulation, a firm must
certify it is wanting to enter but feels discouraged from doing so or is threatening
to leave the state because of the uncompetitive tax structure, fill out
paperwork justifying the exemption, and negotiate a contract with several state
agencies that may have additional contractual conditions added such as for performance.
After five years, it can petition to have another five years’ worth of
exemption and to have certain kinds of expenditures included.
This column publishes every Sunday through Thursday around noon U.S. Central Time (maybe even after sundown on busy days, or maybe before noon if things work out, or even sometimes on the weekend if there's big news) except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Monday through Friday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, Christmas, or New Year's Day when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, in addition to these are also Easter Sunday, Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.
With Monday, Jul. 4 being Independence Day, I invite you to explore the links connected to this page.