Local Politics

Candidates' Tuition Proposals Require Maneuvering

Posted April 23, 2008
Updated April 24, 2008

— The two leading Democratic candidates for governor have promised to provide college tuition as part of their platforms. But putting their plans in place would take plenty of political maneuvering.

Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue wants to expand a current scholarship program for low-income students at state universities or community colleges. Meanwhile, State Treasurer Richard Moore wants to use money from the national tobacco litigation settlement to provide two free years at community college for every high school graduate in the state.

Perdue said restructuring the state budget process to make it more transparent would free up money for her plan.

"I said I would have several sources of funds. One is the good old-fashioned way of finding it in the budget," she said during a Tuesday night debate with Moore. "(We want) to just make sure that finances are never a barrier for anyone in the state to go to school."

Perdue has also suggested using some tobacco settlement money from Golden LEAF, the Rocky Mount-based foundation that disburses the funds for economic development projects.

Moore said drawing interest off the $650 million Golden LEAF has in the bank would fund his proposal.

"I think that's a really smart use of the money," he said.

Golden LEAF President Valeria Lee is not opposed to talking to Perdue or Moore about their programs. But she believes in the Golden LEAF Foundation's mission – supporting community colleges, creating jobs in rural areas and some scholarships – and wants to see that continue.

"I would say most of the money has gone toward work force preparedness," Lee said. "It would absolutely be a void" if money were diverted.

The governor appoints one-third of the Golden LEAF board members, so whoever wins the election in November would have some clout with the foundation.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • billybob72 Apr 24, 2008

    Just use lottery money!
    Yeah, right. How many of you are willing to admit you got duped that the lottery was somehow going to prevent any tax increases? Wake maybe gets 4 or 5 million of lottery money this year, but is asking for another $50 million for its budget. "Better than nothing", right? But not the outcome you were lead to believe would happen. Another bait-and-switch game people easily fell for.

  • Worland Apr 24, 2008

    Maybe they can pay for it with NC's already rediculous 48 cent a gallon gas tax! They sure aren't spending that money on the roads.

  • Been there once Apr 24, 2008

    Those that pay will be the ones whose children are not eligible for the free schooling. Been in financial straight once for a couple of years and everywhere I turned there was an excuse why I was not eligible for any assistance. It will be the same with the free schooling.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 24, 2008

    No thanks on the ethanol. Just trading one poison for another.

  • jimbo56 Apr 24, 2008

    Let's look at this logically. Both endorse more funding for Headstart. Both endorse some sort of universal health program or at least prescription coverage.

    The state has a potential problem because it has taken Million os Dollars from the Highweay Trust Fund. We have a stagnet economy.

    Now, they want to offer free tuition for community college. Where is the money going to come from? It's going to result in higher taxes which will discourage business and other entities.

    There are NO FREE LUNCHES in life.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 24, 2008

    A lot of people complain that Smoker's raise health care costs. Maybe this money needs to go to Smoker's; after all that is where the money came from originally.

  • orange dude Apr 24, 2008

    Golden LEAF should invest in getting d-bacca farmers to start growing sawgrass for ethanol production.

  • gnew46 Apr 23, 2008

    I like Moore's plan of using the interest from the money the Tobacco Foundation has already received from the tobacco settlement to afford everyone at least two years at a Community College.

  • PaulRevere Apr 23, 2008

    LOL at WRAL and that "Maneuvering". Just say what it IS...MORE TAXES!!!

  • whatelseisnew Apr 23, 2008

    Yes it is really very inexpensive to purchase votes from John and Jane Doe citizen when you are using someone else's money. I love how things are free. I wish I could get some of it.