Ivey was at her peak when she ran for re-election in 2006. The Florence Times Daily praised her in terms only slightly less glowing than proud grandparents use at medical and law school graduations:
For those saving money for their children's education, Ivey has been a genuine hero. She helped provide tax incentives for people to save money, and she helped create qualified withdrawals from the state's 529 college savings plan that are exempted from state income taxes. Her goal in the next four years is to make contributions to the 529 plan tax deductible. That should lead to more people investing in the savings plan.Ivey's opponent in the race, Democrat Steve Segrest, says the PACT program is not as strong as it should be and would form a commission to study plans in other states to make Alabama's more attractive and productive.
And speaking of Steve Segrest, the Tuscaloosa News had this to say in 2006:
But Segrest said Alabama’s PACT program lags behind similar programs in other states. He also said that the approximately $70 million deficit shown by the program in 2005, up from about $50 million the previous year, is a cause for concern.
“In Texas, they went so deep into deficit they had to close their program," Segrest said, adding that he doesn’t want to see the same thing happen in Alabama.
He said in a telephone interview that he would like to examine more effective programs in other states to see what works.
“Let’s steal the best ideas from the states that are ranked highest," he said.
Ivey dismissed Segrest’s claims that the program is in trouble. She said the program is healthy and is helping Alabama families send children to college. Despite the deficit increase, she said, the program went from 90 percent funded to 91 percent funded from 2004 to 2005.
In 2007, Kay Ivey was reminding parents that college savings "make a great gift idea!"
“You don’t have to get up at 5 a.m. to stand in line to save for college,” Ivey noted. “Simply call my office or visit the Treasury website from the comfort of your own home and give your child a gift that is probably not on their wish list, but one they will thank you for later.”
Last year, even with serious uncertainly in the housing market and rumbles in the financial sector, Ivey was still the state cheerleader for PACT.
But, as the Huntsville Times noted, "what a difference a quarter makes!"
What a difference a fiscal quarter makes! Back in June, State Treasurer Kay Ivey was telling The Times' editorial board that investing in Alabama's prepaid college tuition program was "a call to action for all of us." On Tuesday, officials were reporting the program was hemorrhaging big time.
Ok... so hindsight is 20/20... but in January of 2009 - barely 2 months ago, Ivey used her "folksy charm" to talk up the PACT program at an Andalusia Chamber of Commerce meeting:
“There are 160 students in Covington County enrolled in the PACT program,” Ivey said. “Y’all have got mo’ chil’en than that,” she said, asking those present to encourage parents and grandparents to participate in the program.
Question for Kay Ivey: How many o' them "chillun" are lookin at gittin kicked outta school?
And, as late as March 7th, Ivey was still praising the program at the Blackburn Institute Educational Forum in Birmingham. Mooncat was there, and reported that Ivey herself brought up the PACT program in a positive way:
The state of Alabama has two college savings programs designed for lower income and middle income students ... families, to be able to save some amount of money if not the whole thing to go to college. We don't have to live off of always letting the federal government bail us out. There is room for individual responsibility and we have two college savings programs designed for lower income and middle income folks to participate and ... whatever they say that is less that the child has got to borrow. So it is an opportunity for self responsibility along the way."
You just have to ask: What did Kay Ivey know, and when did she know it? And does she know that she knows it?
Which is it, Kay? Either this program's a great investment or it's about to go down the tubes.
We're waiting for an answer, because you seem to be all over the place on the subject.