Under House GOP plan universities would not face cut, Mesonet would be funded

A student walks in front of Cherry Hall on Feb. 22.

Herald Staff

A budget plan unveiled yesterday by House Republicans proposed three tax increases which would help to reverse spending cuts to education programs proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported

Under the plan, colleges and universities will not face the 6.25 percent cut Bevin proposed in his original budget. Thee Kentucky Mesonet housed at WKU would also receive funding. The state funds the Mesonet $750,000 a year, which is three-fourths of their budget

{{tncms-inline account=”Bluegrass Politics” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">House Republicans will exempt higher ed from the 6.25% cut and borrow more than Bevin. ^JS <a href="https://t.co/1JWzccBAN7">pic.twitter.com/1JWzccBAN7</a></p>— Bluegrass Politics (@BGPolitics) <a href="https://twitter.com/BGPolitics/status/968991225800994816?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 28, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/BGPolitics/status/968991225800994816″ type=”twitter”}}

{{tncms-inline account=”Bluegrass Politics” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">And there's $750,000 a year for the Kentucky Mesonet weather monitoring system run by WKU. ^JScc: <a href="https://twitter.com/Kentuckyweather?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Kentuckyweather</a> <a href="https://t.co/Tz8SzdQ5A9">pic.twitter.com/Tz8SzdQ5A9</a></p>— Bluegrass Politics (@BGPolitics) <a href="https://twitter.com/BGPolitics/status/968999120781312002?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 28, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/BGPolitics/status/968999120781312002″ type=”twitter”}}

As previously reported, the state cuts would result in a loss of $4.6 million for WKU. 

The GOP budget plan raises “the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 50 cents, eliminates a $10 individual income tax credit and levies a 25 cent tax on prescription opioids each time a dosage is sold by a distributor to a pharmacy,” the Herald-Leader reported. 

Recently, the Budget Council revealed their report to solve a $15 million deficit, this included eliminating University College, eliminating 40 vacant and 90-100 filled positions and returning the regional campuses to the management of the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach.

Earlier this year, Caboni said WKU could have a budget deficit as large as $40 million. The $40 million comes from the current $15 million deficit, the anticipated $4.6 million cut from the governor’s budget, WKU’s nearly $9 million pension obligation and an anticipated $10 million deficit from enrollment changes and fixed costs. 

A committee hearing was held yesterday for the Republican’s pension bill, but Attorney General Andy Beshear warned lawmakers the pension bill would break the inviolable contract between the state and its public employees, the Associated Press reported.

The budget bill is expected to go before a vote in the House today and then later the Senate.