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State Journal: Recycling; In disagreement

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Bob Babbage, the Kentucky secretary of state and one of a handful of Democratic candidates for Governor, has relied heavily on his proposal to allow all of the state's high school graduates to attend college or vocational school for free.

In speeches across the state, he has called the plan everything from a bold vision to a courageous dream, in hopes that it will push him ahead of the pack in this spring's primary election. Apparently, however, it was someone else's vision first.

When Mr. Babbage's top campaign consultant, Jim Andrews, advised Gov. Zell Miller's successful 1994 re-election campaign, the Georgian trumpeted education programs paid for by lottery funds, including full scholarships for students who maintain a B average in high school.

It was the consultant James Carville, a prot‚g‚ of Mr. Andrews, who helped Governor Miller build his 1990 campaign around the lottery idea, which Mr. Carville had succeeded with in an earlier race--in the Bluegrass State. Mr. Carville--now famous for his work on President Clinton's 1992 campaign--managed the 1987 campaign of former Gov. Wallace Wilkinson of Kentucky, who rode his advocacy of a state lottery to a surprise victory.

Although they are traditionally allies on education issues, Gov. Bob Miller of Nevada and the superintendent of the state's largest school district have been sparring over state school aid.

The Clark County superintendent, Brian Cram, whose district includes Las Vegas, suggested a new tax that would kick in when sales-tax revenues fall short of projections.

Mr. Miller called the idea "dead on arrival" and "financial suicide for the state." He added that his budget already includes a 12.5 percent boost for education, or about $106 million over the 1995-97 biennium.

"This idea would either result in a general tax increase, or letting violent criminals out of prison," the Governor said. "Neither choice is acceptable."

Mr. Miller was upset enough to write a letter to the board of school trustees in Clark County, hinting that there was a need to rebuild the "education alliance" between himself and Mr. Cram.

"Our share of the state's financial pie is shrinking at a time when we are experiencing phenomenal growth," Mr. Cram said in a statement. "We simply cannot sustain vital programs at the proposed funding level without serious cuts."

--Lonnie Harp & Millicent Lawton

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