The staff editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Murray State News.
It is no secret in western Kentucky how much better off the city of Murray is because of the University. Many other towns would be glad to have an institution bringing in jobs, higher education and businesses. It’s a hands down vote.
But recently there has been a move in the local city government trying to jeopardize this relationship. The city is toying with the idea of making students pay the $50 sticker fee city residents and workers are already required to pay. This would not be a substitute, but anadd on to the fee many students already for their parking passes.
Such a fee would increase the size and revenue of the city well into six digit figures. In the short term this may seem like a good idea. The city has more money to spend on community projects and initiatives and so more people enjoy the city and might want to send their children to the University. Sounds simple and easy, right?
Realistically this plan has the potential to do more harm than good. Students bring plenty of revenue to Murray. We buy gas, eat out, shop for groceries and spend our money all over this town.
This tax on students is a sad attempt by some city officials to take advantage of college students who are already trying to pay for a decent education.
Of course, the idea of a reduced rate was discussed but is not legally possible.
Mark Welch, director of community relations, said a subcommittee tried to find ways to ease the burden on students if the plan passed. But after the legal roadblock, Welch said the University considered the matter over. Apparently it is not, and the city is still looking for a way to get into student checkbooks.
Welch said the real problem with making students buy the stickers is the city’s plan on implementation.
“The way the law is now, I don’t think they can enforce that really,” Welch said. “Any student who works or is a legal resident of Murray, they don’t have anyway of enforcing that. So they’re like ‘Well, we’ll just make everyone buy it.’ Then any car who doesn’t have one, they can ticket it.”
It seems the city is trying to pull a fast one on the students here. There is the argument of economic downturn and austere spending. But with tuition costs already rising and state cutbacks into higher education the University is having a hard enough time trying to stay the low-cost alternative it has been in the past. The last nail in the financial coffin for many current and prospective students would be an extra fee from the a city they don’t even live in.