Kentucky Chamber asks legislative leaders to protect higher education in state budget

In a letter to legislative leaders and the House and Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee chairs, Kentucky Chamber President and CEO requested the General Assembly craft a budget that does not cut post-secondary education funding at the levels laid out by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Writing to House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Senate President Robert Stivers, Sen. Chris McDaniel and Rep. Rick Rand, Adkisson noted the Chamber’s opinion that the governor’s overall budget is a “bold proposal that moves Kentucky toward a more stabilized fiscal condition.” (Watch Adkisson’s full reaction to the budget proposal here.)

However, because of the proposed 4.5% cut in the first year and 9% cut in the following years laid out in budget proposal Bevin sent to the legislature, Adkisson said he felt the need to pen the letter to express the “serious concern” of the business community over these cuts.

Adkisson pointed to education as the top priority of the Kentucky Chamber and stated that the Commonwealth can not produce the workforce it needs in order to fuel job growth and prosperity if the budget does not sufficiently fund post-secondary education.

“While the appropriations for the pension systems represent an important investment in building a stronger future for our state, the same cannot be said of the proposed budget cuts for our institutions of higher learning – important producers of the talent needed in Kentucky’s workforce,” Adkisson wrote to the leaders.

In a recent legislative committee meeting, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto also expressed deep concerns over the proposed budget cuts laid out by Bevin and asked legislators to reconsider the cuts when they begin crafting their version of the budget.

Closing his letter, Adkisson respectfully requested the General Assembly “minimize the negative impact on postsecondary education as you deliberate and enact a budget for the 2016-2018 biennium.”

The state House will be the first to craft their own version of a two-year budget. It then goes to the Senate where they will suggest their own budget requests before the two chambers come together to draft and pass a final budget which will be sent to the governor. Continue to check The Bottom Line for budget updates throughout the 2016 session.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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