SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Some Californians who lost parents or spouses in the Sept. 11 attacks were unaware of a scholarship program funded by fees from a specialty memorial license plate, while millions of dollars from the plates went to plug the state's persistent budget deficits.Read the rest here.
An aspiring lawyer and an unemployed single mother are among those who say they would have signed up to receive a $5,000 scholarship had they known the program existed.
Other parents say they were told their children did not qualify for the funds, although they appear to have met the criteria.
After the September 11 attacks, lawmakers in California, where all four jetliners were bound when they were hijacked, established a special memorial plate emblazoned with the words, "We Will Never Forget."
The money raised through the sale of the plates was to provide scholarships to the children of California residents who perished in the attacks and to help fund anti-terrorism efforts.
The Associated Press reported in May that only $20,000 of the $15 million collected since lawmakers approved the "California Memorial Scholarship Program" has been paid out in scholarships...
...In the years since the program closed to new applicants, Gov. Jerry Brown and his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, borrowed $3 million of memorial license plate money to help plug the state's budget deficit.
Neither loan has been repaid.
Millions more raised by the plates have been spent on budget items with little relation to direct threats of terrorism, including livestock diseases and workplace safety.