by David Safier

Once again, Republicans reveal their priorities, as if there were ever any questions.

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A bill giving a tax break to University of Phoenix passed the Senate and is heading to the house. This bill is so wrong-headed, Brewer vetoed it last session, saying the state couldn't afford to lose the tax money. I guess now that we're swimming in surplus (that won't go to schools or children's health care), we can give U of P a tax break. [Note: It pains me to say Democrats David Schapira and Chad Campbell have joined 12 Republicans in co-sponsoring this bill. They have reasons, I'm sure. I'd like to hear them.]

The other bill says every student must pay at least $2,000 a year to attend UA or the other public AZ universities. No more poor kids bundling a bunch of scholarships and grants to attend to our universities tuition free. That even includes gifts. I guess if a benefactor decided to help a poor young man or woman attend UA, the student would still have to "personally contribute at least two thousand dollars."

There are two exceptions. One is for athletic scholarships, natch. Athletes don't have to kick in $2,000 of their own if they get a full ride. The other is for a student who receives an academic scholarship. But, if I read the academic scholarship section correctly, it has to be one scholarship for the entire tuition amount, not a collection of academic scholarships. That's how this sounds to me, when the bill states the $2,000 requirement doesn't apply to students who:

Receive a grant, award or scholarship that is based solely on academic merit or solely on a special aptitude, talent or ability from a competitive national program.

It specifies "a grant, award or scholarship," singular, not "grants, awards or scholarships," plural.

This bill, by the way, is sponsored by 24 Republicans, no Democrats.

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