House Committee Hopes To Fully Fund TOPS
Today might be the defining day for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students. That program is more commonly referred to as TOPS, and the question is whether there will be TOPS funding for college students in Louisiana or will there not be state-supported funding for college students. The House Appropriations committee is leaning in the direction that there should be TOPS funding for students. That funding will come at a cost.
As the proposed budget from Governor John Bel Edwards reads right now, the TOPS program would fall short of the money needed to fully fund the program by approximately $183 million. For many House members and members of the Appropriations Committee, there is another way to get the money for tops.
That "other way" would come at the expense of public education, hospitals, and state prisons. The $183 million needed to cover the TOPS shortfall would be moved from these budget items into the TOPS portion of the budget.
Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Cameron Henry of Metarie, told the Louisiana Radio Network what he believes would have to happen to other state agencies if the budget is shifted to cover the cost of TOPS.
They submitted a target amount of what they'd like their budget to look like, but of course not everyone is going to get their targeted budget amount, because the resources are not there.
Henry's comments were made to the Louisiana Radio Network. He also suggested that today's ( Monday) vote by the committee would play a pivotal role in just how the final budget for the state's next fiscal year would look. Should the House Appropriations Committee approve the shifting of funds, that change in the budget would then go to the House floor for further debate.