Legislation Would Demand TOPS Payback
Let's look at what the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students or TOPS was really supposed to be. It was supposed to be an incentive to keep the best and brightest students from Louisiana in Louisiana for their college years.
The hope was that after those college years and state-funded tuition those best and brightest students would find employment in Louisiana. Thus creating a better educated and a higher paid workforce. Those two things translate into higher tax receipts for the state. By design, it looked like a total slam dunk for the state all the way around.
Leave it to Louisiana to miss a layup.
Instead of reaping all the positive benefits of what was a seemingly good plan the TOPS program hit rock bottom with the recent budget crisis. You can blame who you want the bottom line is this. The money isn't there.
There are now reports circulating that a reboot of TOPS could be in the works in the upcoming session of the legislature. An over simplified example of the legislation would read something like this.
If you utilized TOPS benefits for four years in college. You will need to live and work in the state for the next four years after graduation. Proof of that residency would be required. If you choose to move out of state you would then be required to repay all TOPS benefits you received while attending school in Louisiana.
Here's why that won't work.
How much bureaucracy and additional cost do you think the
bloodsuckers legislators of this state will layer on to administrate such a record keeping and logistical nightmare?
My guess is that our politicians have more than enough slacker family members and favors owed to contributors to keep the "TOPS Police" over funded and extremely ineffective and inefficient for years to come. If this legislation were to pass.
I say this plan is at best a good thought. It's just not thought all the way through. Like the TOPS program was, to begin with. Hey, it served its purpose. It got a few good students through college and made sure that the rest of them had at least one memorable year partying on the state's nickel.