Colleges see potential cuts from Senate budget plan

The Kentucky Senate chose to abolish the 2.5 percent cut to higher education as proposed by Gov. Steve Beshear in January.

The Kentucky Senate passed its first draft of a two-year state budget with a vote of 53-46 Moore, making approximately $1.51 billion in cuts from the House’s budget proposed last week.

Among the cuts made were funding to several Kentucky universities’ building projects.

Murray State was spared the loss of funding for the Breathitt Veterinary Center, despite the approximately $520 million in cuts for projects at the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville.

In an interview with WKMS, President Tim Miller said there are advantages and disadvantages to both the Senate’s and the House’s budget proposals.

He said although neither is ideal for Murray State, the Senate’s plan would potentially have the worst effect on the University.

Miller said it’s possible that if the Senate has its way and Beshear’s proposed cut is lifted then the Council on Post-Secondary Education may decide to more severely limit the amount Kentucky schools will be able to raise tuition.

“We’ve got a pretty large deficit already and if (the Senate’s budget passes) then we’re going to have to go back and make some really serious cuts,” he said.

Sen. Bob Leeper, chair of the Senate budget committee, said he was proud of the changes the Senate made to the House’s budget which included reducing debt as well as increasing the state’s “Rainy Day” fund by $25 million.

State budget negotiations between the Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-led House could begin as early as this week.

Leaders from both chambers said they will have a recommended budget for Beshear before they adjourn April 15.

 

Staff Report