Bevin Defends Stance Over College Cuts
Gov. Matt Bevin has not indicated yet whether his office will ask the Kentucky Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling barring his mid-year university budget cuts, but the chief executive sounded defiant on talk radio Friday morning.
In a 5-2 decision Thursday, the high court found that Bevin overstepped his authority in ordering the 2 percent cuts after the legislature had appropriated the funds. Talking with Leland Conway on WLAP radio, Bevin charged that the Supreme Court has decided to “invent new rules on the spot.”
"There is no law, including any that they pointed to, that we are in violation of. The point of a ruling is to uphold the law, to not create new law from the bench, not to invent new rules, but to apply those laws that actually exist," the governor said.
The Republican also took aim at state universities for not stepping in to provide more financial relief for Kentucky’s debt-ridden pension system.
"The University of Kentucky has twice as much money in cash reserves as the state of Kentucky does. And yet we’re the ones funding them," he said. "They’ve got a $1 billion dollar plus endowment. So does the University of Louisville. And you would think that by giving up a couple million to help contribute to a problem that’s going to face them in a big, big way if we don’t fix it… you would think they would want to set that example. But everybody wants other people’s money."
Universities will be doing some belt-tightening, however, as the 2016 budget calls for annual 4.5 percent higher education cuts over the next two years.
In a statement Thursday, UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric Monday said mid-year reductions to the school’s budget are "extremely difficult to manage" and the court ruling gives universities a greater sense of certainty as they plan their future spending. The funds intended for UK– roughly about $5.6 million – will contribute to the university's "focus on student success initiatives, particularly in the areas of retention and graduation rates.”