by Max Brantley
Gov. Mike Beebe says he might be able to go along with $5,000 annual lottery scholarships for current and future college students. He'd expressed some concern about spending the full amount on existing students, who weren't expecting lottery scholarships when they entered college. Beebe had understandable concerns about the consequences of revenue shortfalls -- either in disappointing expectant students or making up the shortfall with other money (not likely). He preferred a more conservative projection on lottery revenue.
Beebe has a safety valve in a significant surplus in unclaimed current scholarship money. Three years down the line, when the lottery revenues mature and stabilize, then we'll see. But, for now, he says it's the legislature's call.