Editorial: Senate, House budget compromise could save higher education funding

Budget cartoon


The issue: After revisions were made to Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget by the House and Senate, they now need to come to a compromise

Our stance: The House budget is much better because of how kind it was to higher education funding, so if the final version leant more towards that it would diminish the burden that Bevin’s original budget put on universities. 

Two weeks ago Kentucky’s House of Representatives finished drafting their revised version of Bevin’s state budget and sent it to the Senate for approval. In their version of the budget, the House got rid of all of the higher education cuts that Bevin originally proposed. 

Last week, the Senate drafted their own budget, which restores all of the previous cuts to higher education that were originally proposed by Bevin in February. Not surprisingly, Kentucky’s House is comprised of a majority of Democrats while the Senate has a Republican majority. 

Because of this, the House rejected the Senate’s version of the budget and there’s now a joint Budget Conference Committee to settle the differences and come up with a budget that both can agree on. 

Hopefully in the end the budget will look closer to the one that the House drafted. The committee was supposed to meet an agreement Monday night, but there was no news prior to publication. The restoration of the state higher education budget is necessary for all state universities to function properly and produce well educated students. 

As stated in a previous editorial regarding Bevin’s original proposed state budget, taking the focus away from education doesn’t help anyone. Focusing on workforce readiness rather than educating Kentucky’s citizens—which basically is workforce readiness—turns people into commodities rather than creating well-rounded citizens. 

According to the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky, in 2015 only 22 percent of Kentuckians had received a Bachelor’s degree. Also, our state ranks 47th in the United States in educational attainment only beating Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia. 

These numbers are shocking and a little scary, especially when you consider just how much importance our governor holds on education. We shouldn’t be working towards making our state even less educated, we should be desperately trying to fix this. 

It’s ridiculous that our governor seems to care so little about the education of the people for which he is supposed to be an advocate, and we hope that the legislative branches of Kentucky’s government will compromise on not cutting funds from higher education.