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Governor Introduces HOPE Chest to Protect Scholarships and Pre-Kindergarten Programs

Tuesday, January 30, 2007  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Constitutional amendment to Limit Lottery Funds to HOPE and Pre-K


ATLANTA –   Just days after joining with former Governor Zell Miller to celebrate the one millionth HOPE recipient, Governor Sonny Perdue took action today to protect HOPE for future generations by introducing the HOPE Chest constitutional amendment.  The amendment would limit the use of lottery funds to costs associated with the HOPE scholarship and Pre-K programs.  Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and House Speaker Glenn Richardson, and other Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, appeared with Governor Perdue to support the measure.  The amendment is being sponsored by State Senator Joseph Carter, one of the Governor's floor leaders in the Senate, and Senator Seth Harp, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. 

"We need to protect HOPE to make sure it is available for a million more Georgians," said Governor Sonny Perdue.  "We cannot allow money to be frivolously spent on projects that have nothing to do with college scholarships or early learning."

At last week's event, Governor Miller said that Governor Perdue's proposed HOPE Chest amendment should be enacted to put a permanent end to redirecting lottery funds for projects other than HOPE or Pre-K.

"I was so determined to make sure that we kept Lottery proceeds separate from the general budget, and I think that was the best decision we ever made," Governor Miller said. "That's why I think the HOPE Chest idea of Governor Perdue is such a good idea and it is time that it should be done."

Between the 1994 and 2003 fiscal years, legislators appropriated over $1.8 billion in lottery revenue on budget items outside of HOPE and Pre-K programs.

"HOPE has had such a positive impact on so many of Georgia's children and we need to ensure that it is protected for future generations," said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle.  "Governor Perdue's leadership has put an end to the drain on our lottery funds for projects that do not include HOPE and this amendment will bring certainty that HOPE is sustained."

"The HOPE scholarship has helped over a million hard-working students attend college and supported pre-kindergarten programs across our state," said House Speaker Glenn Richardson.  "The people of Georgia should be able to vote to protect HOPE funds from those who would use them irresponsibly."