What’s this? An actual issue has been raised in the campaign for Texas lieutenant governor that gives the opponents something on which to debate — and no doubt disagree.
The issue has been broached by Democratic nominee state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, who says the state ought to amend its constitution to allow use of the Rainy Day Fund to pay for public community college or technical college education for student.
It is an interesting idea worth a full-throated discussion between Van de Putte and Republican nominee, fellow state Sen. Dan Patrick.
As the Texas Tribune reports: “Under the scholarship requirements under her proposal, students would have to graduate from a Texas high school and qualify for in-state tuition. They would also be required to apply for federal or state financial assistance and apply those funds toward tuition and fees before receiving money from the Texas Promise program.”
Patrick’s campaign opposes it on the grounds that it spends too much money.
The way I figure it, the Rainy Day Fund is set aside to help pay for state programs. It’s money in the bank, drawing interest, earning income for the state. It’s money the state has on hand. Isn’t funding scholarships for public community college-bound students a worthy investment the state can make in its future?
I think it is. As the Tribune reports on Van de Putte’s response to Patrick’s opposition: “Van de Putte’s campaign emphasized that the program would not require imposing new taxes because it would be funded using interest from the $2 billion worth of existing funds that would be allocated to the Texas Promise fund if voters approve the constitutional amendment.”
Van de Putte has opened up a serious discussion topic that she and Patrick can debate openly, frankly, thoroughly and intelligently. The debate should give Texans a serious look at how these candidates line up on a key issue — higher education funding.