February 25, 2014

The War on Higher Education: Budget cuts increase cost of college

By Stewart Lewis–

“I am determined to reinvest in education with this upcoming budget,” the Democratic governor said while meeting with reporters in his Capitol office. “So if I have to cut some other areas to do it, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

Though it has been a while since Governor Steve Beshear gave his budget address, not much has been mentioned around this campus about its impact on us, the students.

Despite claiming that the state needs to begin to restore funding cuts made during the recession to prevent any backsliding in education, Governor Beshear’s proposal includes an additional cut for post-secondary education.

Post-secondary education funding has already been heavily cut during Governor Beshear’s tenure. With his current budget, an additional 2.5 percent will be cut, making the total cuts for post-secondary education to a whopping 17.5 percent in his six years in office.

President Ramsey and President Eli Capilouto of the University of Kentucky addressed lawmakers on Thursday, warning that the governor’s budget could lead to higher tuition rates for students and layoffs for employees. President Ramsey stated that the current proposal would cut $3.5 million from the University of Louisville.

President Ramsey urged lawmakers to pass additional revenue generating measures, specifically expansions in gambling and tax reform.

The issue of the increased cost of college is directly caused by a bill, HB1, recently passed by the Kentucky House of Representatives. HB1 proposes a raise in minimum wage.

Under this bill, colleges will have to pay their workers more money, increasing the overall cost to students of higher education.

The cost of higher education issue should be very simple. Keep the minimum wage as is — pay the workers what they are actually worth, $10.10 (the proposed minimum wage) if they are worth it, and if they are only worth the current minimum wage ($7.25) they should improve their performance in order to earn a raise, not have one given to them.

However, in an article from a student at Western Kentucky University, the consequences of HB1 have become abundantly clear: an additional cost of near-as-makes-no-difference $1.3 million in an unfunded mandate, paid by you, the student. With the passage of HB1, the added cost of higher education due to an increase of the minimum wage will occur in Kentucky.

With this bill, sponsored by Democrat Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg, and the most recent budget address by Beshear, it is time to realize that Kentucky Democrats are not being truthful in their determination to alleviate the costs of higher education.

It is far beyond time to get fiscally responsible people elected to office in the Commonwealth to finally start doing some things that make sense.


Photo courtesy of dyn.politico.com

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