As lieutenant governor, Bill led the fight for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery—which has since provided Arkansas students with 100,000 college scholarships totaling approximately $300 million.
When Bill decided to run for governor of Arkansas, he vowed to finish the job. That's why he's put forth The Arkansas Promise Plan, a guarantee to high school students that if they work hard, the state of Arkansas will send them to college, tuition paid, without raising taxes.
Two great op-eds came out today, arguing that regardless of your politics, The Arkansas Promise Plan is an idea worthy of serious debate. Read them both and share them with your networks—we need your help to get the word out.
Here's an excerpt of what Rex Nelson had to say in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Read the full op-ed here*.
"Let me say something right upfront: “Thank you, Bill Halter.”
"Back in March, Halter unveiled what he’s calling the Arkansas Promise, a plan under which high school graduates with a grade-point average of 2.5 or higher would receive college scholarships that match the highest tuition charged by a state college or university. How we pay for the plan is a legitimate topic for debate going forward. But here’s what Halter has done: He has focused a major part of the discussion in this landmark governor’s race on the critical need to produce far more college graduates in Arkansas. ...
"Halter is right when he declares that 'Arkansas is at a crossroads, and this next election will set our state’s course for the next generation. The question is how do we prepare our people to compete and prosper in a rapidly changing global economy.'
"Regardless of whether you have a college degree or not and whether you plan to vote for a Democrat or a Republican for governor, we should all be able to agree that Arkansas simply must produce far more college graduates. Let’s begin the public policy debate on the best approach for achieving that goal."
And here's why Roy Ockert, columnist and editor emeritus of the Jonesboro Sun, argues that the Arkansas Promise Plan deserves "major debate" in the 2014 gubernatorial election:
"...investing in the education of our young people will ensure greater economic prosperity for Arkansas in the future. Cutting taxes, in theory, gives "job creators" more money to grow the economy and consumers more money to spend. Unfortunately, it does nothing to help attract the kind of high-tech, high-wage jobs we'd like to have.
"And a poorly educated populace can't fill such jobs anyway.
"Arkansas ranks 49th out of 50 states in the percentage of our work force with college degrees—behind Mississippi and ahead of only West Virginia.
"We need to produce more college graduates, and it's shameful to think that the only meaningful source of financial aid for that mission is the lottery."
*Courtesy of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette