Proposed bill seeks income fund just for TOPS program

3 months ago WBRZ 0

BATON ROUGE – A proposed bill is making its way through the legislature which could create a new fund specifically for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students dollars.

House Bill 256 is in its final passage in the legislature, steps just before it hits the Governor’s desk. Wednesday afternoon, the bill passed the Senate.

State Representative Franklin Foil authors House Bill 256. He wants to always make sure the funds are there for students eligible for the program before it’s too late to make in-state post-secondary decisions. This bill would allow a designated income fund just for TOPS.

“We can direct revenue to this fund and the TOPS process would not have to go through the regular budget process,” said Foil.

The idea is to place both private and state funds in a special treasury fund.

“I want high school seniors to know when they’re about to graduate the TOPS money will be there for me to stay in Louisiana and go to a Louisiana university,” said Foil.

TOPS, which has seen a few cutbacks in the past, has been on the chopping block every legislative session for the past few years.

During a recent Senate Committee, Foil says others did have concerns about the proposed income fund.

“A few people had reservations about any new dedications of funds which I understand, but what I think for the TOPS program it’s important for predictability to know the monies are going to be there. So students will know when they’re making their college decisions, that they will have funding,” said Foil.

If this bill passes, it will go into effect July 1, 2018.