The HOPE scholarship and Jason Carter’s debut

State Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, defends two of his amendments during Tuesday's HOPE scholarship debate. Both lost. AP/John Amis

State Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, defends two of his amendments during Tuesday's HOPE scholarship debate. Both lost. AP/John Amis

After more than four hours of debate, Gov. Nathan Deal’s legislation to alter some of the basic premises of the HOPE scholarship passed the Senate on a heavily partisan 35-20 vote this evening.

The House is expected to agree to all changes and give final passage on Thursday. We’ll let others cover the main points.

Democrats never stood a chance of stopping the legislation, but they have reason to remain upbeat. They were able to force Republicans to concede a number of changes to the bill. Perhaps more important, the HOPE debate saw the rise of two new Democratic leaders.

On the House side, newly elected House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams of Atlanta took a chance and negotiated directly with the governor over many points previously enumerated here.

In the Senate, the HOPE debate on Tuesday saw the debut of Jason Carter of Decatur, who took office last May in a special election. Carter grabbed the lead on the HOPE issue for Senate Democrats, crunching what numbers he and a small staff could persuade or wheedle out of a Republican administration.

On Monday, the day before the debate, the grandson of the former president sent a letter to all 55 of his colleagues, listing the number of high school students whose tuition costs are fully covered by HOPE – and who would still be covered if a Democratic plan to adopt income caps was passed.

The hard numbers found resonance with many rural Republicans. On Tuesday, Republicans proposed – and passed – an amendment aimed at those same rural senators. The top two graduates from every high school in the state will be offered full HOPE coverage of their tuition costs.

Carter had made his first trip to the well a week or so ago — a rite of passage for lawmakers, including Jimmy Carter. Jason Carter did it again on Tuesday, to argue for two of his own amendments to the HOPE legislation. Both were defeated. One would have grandfathered current HOPE recipients, allowing them to receive full tuition coverage for the remainder of their time in college.

But Carter handled himself effectively, impressing several Senate Republicans — and a House Republican or two who dropped in to watch.

“With his name, he could coast if he wanted to. But he’s not going to,” one of his Democratic friends in the chamber said.

“We feel that Jason has started very strong in our caucus,” Senate Democratic Leader Robert Brown of Macon said after the fight. “Going forward, part of our object is to bring on new talent.”

“I’m moving off the scene,” Brown said. “So are others. [Carter is] so close to the age of folks that are most affected.” By HOPE and many other things.

In the governor’s race last year, Brown noted that Roy Barnes strongest support came from voters 30 years old and younger.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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39 comments Add your comment

Is there hope?

March 8th, 2011
9:30 pm

It is great to see Jason Carter fight openly and honestly for sensible legislation. It is equally distressing to see Stacey Abrams sell out her constituents in a crass, futile, and indefensible approach. If she is considered a leader, the Democrats are in even worse trouble than at present. Why doesn’t she just become a Republican? Then she can openly argue for what seem to be her true positions.

double

March 8th, 2011
9:39 pm

Need new young leaders.Balance the control.Get better government for all people.

RBN

March 8th, 2011
9:44 pm

Kudos to offering a well-reasoned counter argument to the Republican lock-step mentality. Current HOPE recipients could have been grandfathered in with small concessions by the Lottery Commission on percenatges of money spent on education, bringing the percent up to national average seems more than reasonable. Also the clear inequities between a suburban school’s education and those in poor rural areas results in huge inequities in HOPE recipients. The amendment to grant HOPE to two students was a token concession; more should have been done.
I hope the House Dems will wake up to how to actually debate the ideas that will lead them back to the majority as the demography of Georgia changes.

RealityCheck

March 8th, 2011
10:13 pm

Once again, those that augment the laws are the ones that are the farthest from it. Do the law”makers” really believe that dangling the carrot of full tuition for the top 2% of HS grads is a concession. Those students who are the valedictorian and salutatorian are often inundated with offers of a “full ride” from prestigious universities nationwide. They are less likely to attend a state/local university than the student with a 3.0 average who is less likely to receive scholarships that would allow them to attend a university without graduation with overwhelming debt. Some will just forego furthering their education and many great minds will be lost. Why not institute an income cap? I mean a student below the poverty level has more access to scholarships with income caps and a student whose parents are wealthy has options simply because they can afford to. Where are the provisions for the middle class? Our students are devalued and this is why we will never be able to compete globally. WAKE UP USA!!!

Interested

March 8th, 2011
10:17 pm

GO JASON! You made your granddad proud, as well as your constituents in SD-42 – we love ya!

WillieRae

March 8th, 2011
10:19 pm

People might like Carter’s partisanship but I have not seen many people take his alternative HOPE proposal seriously. If Carter is to have impact, he is going to have to produce viable policy alternatives, not just red meat for true believers.

td

March 8th, 2011
10:56 pm

RealityCheck

March 8th, 2011
10:13 pm

“They are less likely to attend a state/local university than the student with a 3.0 average”

Then that money will be available for the students further down the line.

“Some will just forego furthering their education”

If these kids are not willing to do the necessary work then maybe they do not need to attend college.

” many great minds will be lost.”

A great mind does not make below 3.75 in HS and again maybe they are not deserving a college education if they are not willing to work for it.

“Our students are devalued and this is why we will never be able to compete globally. WAKE UP USA!!!”

So if we do not pay for 100% of our children’s education at the taxpayers expense then our society is ruined? My God do you need a reality check. Our country is going broke from all the entitlement now and the bill is coming due. You liberals are fixing to be slapped right up side the head with the reality that you have to depend on your own sweat and the government is not going to be there to take care of you.

Pierce Randall

March 8th, 2011
11:15 pm

Really, td? I’m tired of people feeling like they’re entitled to get tax cuts while they slash the state budget. We’re gutting some of the best-functioning parts of our state, and we’ve long since cut programs aimed at the health of our citizens. All for a few percentage points for the entitled, who live in McMansions, or move here during retirement, or want to fish or hunt, or whatever stupid perk or incentive the state is giving out. Seriously, pay your way. The poor pay a much larger percentage of their income in taxes to the State of Georgia than the rich, thanks to the large dependence on state sales taxes and limited exemptions with a mostly flat rate.

Anyway, fighting over non-Medicare and Social Security entitlements at the end of the day are small and mean-spirited victories in the economic scheme of things. The impossibility of raising revenue with tax luddites is obviously the bigger issue to budgetary solvency.

Pierce Randall

March 8th, 2011
11:19 pm

It’s nice that Carter looks like he did something, but it’s not like he had a victory. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all, and maybe hard-working, but forgive me if I’m not hopeful that our political betters deign to make a small gesture on the behalf of voters in the state. If, as the blog contends, he could not have had any major effect on the legislation anyway, then I’d prefer someone who will at least publicly shame the people making the cuts. Compromise is less important if you’re not going to get anything anyway.

Bum Deal

March 9th, 2011
12:46 am

Attaboy Jason! We appreciate your efforts and your leadership. Keep making sense,..you will be heard.

Get Real

March 9th, 2011
1:09 am

Just because a person does not maintain a 3.75 in High School does not mean that they do not deserve to go to college and receive HOPE funding. Anyone that thinks that is a true Idiot and probably are related to Gov NO Deal…… Although I do think that some standard should be set for receiveing Hope funding, I think that the first thinkg you consider is WHERE they are going to College. Private College students should not get the same amount as those going to the State run colleges. In addition, did any of those Brilliant Poloticos who govern this Great State ever consider that their previous cuts in college funding may have resulted in a subsequent increase in tuition …. DUH ! ! ! !

And has anyone ever reallly checked to see if the Lottery is actually paying ALL of the money that it is required to pay? Bet Not …. Go for it AJC …… Just look at all of the fees that are charged to fund other special programs that are really funding the general fund because it is illegal to reserve funding in such a manner.

And get rid of those pompus bonuses …… in times like this noone deserves a bonus ….. especially a retention bonus. Please really … where are these people going to go to get another job? NO WHERE ! ! ! ! ! With unemployment at 10% plus, who is hiring? So let hte little cry babies leave …. And that goes for the Top Boss too.

Rob

March 9th, 2011
1:49 am

How did anyone ever go to college in Georgia before the Hope was introduced?

MiltonMan

March 9th, 2011
6:39 am

Jason Carter = the future of the GA dems??? The guy is a proven loser already & this state & nation has already suffered from one clown by the name of Carter. The senile grandfather and his man-crush of the Middle Eastern terrorists will be a yolk around his newbie grandson.

MiltonMan

March 9th, 2011
6:41 am

Relax dems. Jason only appeals to the brain dead DeKalb residents. His clout will not extend to any county that does not have issues with school accreditation.

Darko

March 9th, 2011
7:31 am

Lil Carter will make a great Democrat. When you really don’t have a point to make (because Hope really is running out of money), deflect the issue away from the fact that high school grades are inflated so people who would not have been eligible before are now eligible for Hope. Then blame the problem on one of two things: the wealthy or racism. Since Brown from Macon had the racism angle covered, that left Carter wide open to play the wealth envy card. Well played, like a true modern Democrat.

Mike

March 9th, 2011
7:33 am

Well the repubs have finally gotten their way in establishing an education system funded by those who buy lottery tickets but can hardly afford to pay for their own kids education. Will this same effort be extended to getting more jobs in Georgia or will more effort be made to disenfranchise the poorer people in Georgia under the guise of saving money. How about doing something about the gas prices or it that too much to ask.

Buzz G

March 9th, 2011
8:02 am

If young Mr. Carter wants to be generous, would he please be generous with his own money. I would be pleased if he keeps his hand out of my pocket. Mr. Jim Galloway seems to think it is wonderful that Jason Carter is so good at picking the pockets of the people who have actually earned their own money. This is the attitude that keeps this country in debt and keeps unemployment in Georgia high.

Ms A

March 9th, 2011
8:08 am

I think we have forgotten that the HOPE money comes from lottery tickets. With the economy being i the shambles it is, even those who play the lottery have not done so as they used to when money was flowing like water. Everyone is is talking about free education money being taken away, let’s not forget that but for the lottery, this discussion would be moot. Therefore, let’s bring casinos to underground Atlanta and I can stop spending my money (3-4 hundred dollars a month, plus gas, hotel, and food) in Alabama on the Indian Reservation casion and instead I can spend it in GA. Earmark the money from casinos for education and I guarantee you free education will be back in GA!

Gannon, Haggard, & Mehlman

March 9th, 2011
8:11 am

Rob @ 1:49 am:
I agree! Why is it that people think that entitlements should stay around forever? What did people do be fore Social Security, Medicare, etc.? For that matter, how did Georgia ever get by before before with a state flag with Confederate battle symbols?

Serious Robuck

March 9th, 2011
8:18 am

Milton Man, you certainly know how to use language effectively to make your point. A yolk? Really?

findog

March 9th, 2011
8:38 am

td, “So if we do not pay for 100% of our children’s education at the taxpayers expense then our society is ruined? My God do you need a reality check.”

As usual you’re using the talking points, like 90% of tuition, to misdirect the topic.

HOPE IS NOT AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE, moron, it is from the proceeds of the lottery. A lottery passed based on means testing of economic capability of the child’s family to afford tuition at a public, in-state, college for high school students at accredited schools with at least a 3.0 average.

Buzz G,
Now how could a minority party senator in office for less than a year have put his hands in your pocket? Go join td and lms in the corner with your dunce cap until you can come up with an intelligent, fact based, thought.

Go Jackets

March 9th, 2011
8:38 am

Hope should be used to send people to Tech and (reluctant to admit this) UGA. Investing in those schools is the key to the state’s success. Call them “Tier 1″ or “Flagship” universities or something like that and guaranty 100% tuition for all that can make it in to those schools. Call KSU, GSU, Ga. Sou., and the like “Tier 2″ schools and do 75% tuition. We should be investing the lottery funds on the kids and the schools with the most important impact on the state.

There is another issue with Hope. I was on Hope in the late 90’s. Let me tell you from first hand experience that the stress of staying on Hope at Tech is much different than trying to stay on it at somewhere like KSU or Ga. Sou. Keeping a 3.0 in aeronautical engineering at Tech is much more difficult than keeping a 3.0 in education at one of those other schools. There were very smart people at Tech losing Hope at a rapid rate due to the difficulty of the courses and the lack of grade inflation (i.e the dreaded curve) while people at Ga. Sou. could use drugs all day, skip class, and stay on Hope. Minimally, there should be a sliding scale to account for these inequities.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

March 9th, 2011
8:54 am

Hoo boy! Just when we thought that all we had to stomach was Jimmuh erupting every now and then to try and show he still matters to somebody somewhere, we have Jimmuh 3.0 (grandson).

Looks like he’s off to a good start for a liberal Democrat – amend a sensible bill to make it cost more…give some more “free” money away from a program that is already struggling to make ends meet…create a totally unworkable formula (example – what will HE say when the parents of the student ranked # in the class whine to him? Will Jimmuh 3.0 be back in the well amending his bill to add # 3?)

The peanut don’t fall far from the vine.

findog

March 9th, 2011
9:03 am

Go Jackets @8:38
There should be a sliding scale for your arrogance. Your beloved Tech is just a wannabe MIT with a post Civil War inferiority complex. Having used drugs all day in the 70’s and gone to college I can attest to the insurmountable challenge to stay on the dean’s list while stoned. What evidence do you have that Georgia Southern is a stoner free ride like Doonesbury’s Walden? Will your school guarantee admittance for the top two graduates from each high school? Will they allow other state schools to teach engineering as they do not have the capacity to meet the demand and too many of Georgia’s qualified graduates have to go to Clemson, Auburn, or Mercer? The reason a 3.0 at GT is so hard is everyone there has to get into a master’s program to quantify their special super smart status; and if they are so dammed smart why do they need the funds of gamblers with poor math skills to matriculate?

findog

March 9th, 2011
9:04 am

Lester, only you would grow a peanut on a vine

Last Man Standing

March 9th, 2011
9:07 am

Go Jackets:

Yours is the best post I’ve read on the subject. I think you are absolutely correct re the sliding scale. The most intelligent students suffer (as far as HOPE is concerned) because they have elected to attend Tier 1 schools. This problem should be remedied.

MiltonMan

March 9th, 2011
9:16 am

Serious – good catch & hopefully a good laugh. Yolk = yoke

td

March 9th, 2011
9:33 am

findog

March 9th, 2011
8:38 am
td, “So if we do not pay for 100% of our children’s education at the taxpayers expense then our society is ruined? My God do you need a reality check.”

As usual you’re using the talking points, like 90% of tuition, to misdirect the topic.

HOPE IS NOT AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE, moron, it is from the proceeds of the lottery. A lottery passed based on means testing of economic capability of the child’s family to afford tuition at a public, in-state, college for high school students at accredited schools with at least a 3.0 average.

If you had some reading comprehension skills, then you would have realized that I was not talking about the lottery funding formula in the above statement but instead talking about the entitlement mentality of the majority of the posters on this blog during this discussion the past several weeks.

The rules have changed (I think most of them while Barnes was in office). There has also been a concerted effort of a lot of school districts with some super grade inflation problems that have sucked all the money dry in an attempt to get in students that are not really qualified for college (remedial classes). The last thing is the university Presidents (making more money then the lottery officials, governor and even the President of the US) keep raising tuition so that they can justify paying themselves more money. The combination of these acts have drained the funds and all you can think of doing is to means test the program to make it a true entitlement program again to make sure those non deserving students get theirs instead of the program being a true merit based program.

Tom

March 9th, 2011
9:43 am

Go Jackets is dead-on. There’s a very good reason ‘Dean’s List’ at GT is ‘only’ 3.0, while it’s 3.5-3.6 pretty much everywhere else in USG schools.

Last Man Standing

March 9th, 2011
9:50 am

HOPE is funded by the lottery which, in many cases, is a tax on the poor. This tax is voluntary and may be habit-forming.

I live in a very poor county. At one of the three establishments that sell lottery tickets, I often have to wait in line to pay for gasoline purchases while lottery tickets are sold to people who can ill afford them. There is little doubt in my mind that money is spent by these people on lottery tickets that should be spent on the real necessities of life for themselves and their families.

If you think that the lottery is a benign and easy way to fund college educations, you are wrong. There is a segment of our population that is hurt in a very real way.

The Goobernator

March 9th, 2011
9:50 am

Jason needs a better haircut if he expect to move forward in politics. I do givve him high marks for an energetic participation in his first term.

Engineer

March 9th, 2011
10:04 am

I hate to admit it, but I agree with state Sen. Carter’s proposal regarding grandfather status for currently enrolled students at Georgia colleges. The students upheld their end of the bargain, so the state should follow through with its end of the bargain. Otherwise, I like Jacket’s idea regarding the scaling of funds, but I’d rather the universities not be allowed to increase their tuition higher than the rate of inflation (ie: state Rep. Ed Rynders’s proposal).

LMAO

March 9th, 2011
10:16 am

I’m still amazed that there has never been talk of residency requirements. If I live anywhere near Georgia I’d move here so my kid could get HOPE. There’s no restrictions. I’d wait until the junior year and move to Georgia to take advantage your program that I didn’t help fund.

yuzeyurbrain

March 9th, 2011
10:29 am

A breath of fresh air. Emperor Deal has no clothes. Let’s get down to basics. What is Guv going to do to restore the billions that have been cut in Ga. educ.? It was never meant to run totally on HOPE and the Lottery. Invest for our future. It won’t take long before a UGA degree becomes worth very little, again.

Ted Troncoso

March 9th, 2011
4:34 pm

The cost of HOPE must be managed. But shooting dowm the amendment to grandfather those who have been granted HOPE, are well along in their studies and continue to achieve exceptional academic performance are being taught a lesson that it does not matter if you breach your commitments. We strive to teach our young people values and the legislature is sending the message that, even it you accepted HOPE and excelled., we will screw you anyways. No wonder this country is becoming a moral nightmare. It is governed by hypocrites. Legislators must honor their moral commitments or don’t come to me for support. I will have too much college tuition to pay that you have taken away from my honor student. I will akso be notifying my congressman and senator that I can no longer support them due to other commitments.

Jingo Riptide

March 9th, 2011
10:29 pm

Jason Carter lives in Decatur now?

[...] scholarship, and the private college assistance provided will drop from $4,000 to $3,600. Despite attempted amendments by Senator Jason Carter (D-Decatur), these changes will affect all students, and begin in the fall. [...]

Ash

March 11th, 2011
9:51 am

Is it just me, or is Sen. Carter kind of attractive when he debates?