SACRAMENTO, CA - The Middle Class Scholarship Plan is supposed to help California families who make too much to qualify for financial aid, but not enough to pay for a college education on their own.
It's one of Assembly Speaker John Perez's signature proposals this session.
He'd pay for the scholarships by closing a $1 billion tax loophole that benefits out-of-state corporations and give those familes as much as a 60 percent discount off UC or CSU tuition.
But a last-minute amendment removed the income cap and replaced it with a formula that somehow allows millionaires to qualify for middle class scholarships. Two independent calculations confirm the findings.
Business interests opposed the original bill. Now they really don't like it.
"It just continues to show that when you try to do something that is politically expedient in the short term, you make sloppy mistakes," said Peter DeMarco, representing California Employers Against Higher Taxes.
The Speaker's Office acknowledges the new formula is complicated but insists millionaires do not qualify for this scholarship program.
The new formula aims to take into account families who have more than one child at a UC or CSU.
"We want to make sure that people who are paying multiple college educations are not saddled higher because they happen to hit that $150,000 make. So this will not apply to millionaires," saiod Perez' spokesman John Vigna.
To try and get Republican support for this bill, the proposal now also includes repealing the new fire tax on rural residents, an issue dear to their heart, but they won't bite.
"Vinnie Barbarino would say ... what? Am I stupid or something here? Come on, really?' said state Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale. "We're not going to go for it."
With session ending for the year this Friday, the deadline to change bills has passed.