LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 2, 2011) – University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd, Jr. today expressed concern about a proposed budget from the Kentucky Senate that would cut UK’s budget next year by $6.7 million, saying “now is the time to be investing more in the education of our children and their futures, not less.”
The budget proposed late Tuesday by the Senate would make a 2.26 percent cut across the board to state agencies and education in the 2012 fiscal year budget. In the current year, most of state government – with the exception of education – would be cut by .525 percent.
“Kentucky – like virtually every state – is grappling with the effects of a tremendous national recession and I know that means tough decisions for our policymakers, who have tried very hard thus far to spare education,” Todd said. “But tough times are precisely when we need to be investing more in education at all levels. Investments in higher education, in particular, create jobs and economic growth now. Investments in all of education are how we protect our future. Cutting that future is simply robbing Peter to pay Paul and will threaten the long-term progress of our Commonwealth.”
The proposed $6.7 million cut to UK’s budget next year, Todd said, would necessitate an additional 3.5 percent increase in tuition for students and their families. The university is attempting to provide a salary increase for faculty and staff who have gone without raises for three straight years. The amount of the proposed cut would reduce any planned salary increase by 2 percent.
The Senate plan is in response to a proposal offered by Gov. Steve Beshear and the state House to offset a projected deficit in the state’s Medicaid budget. The Governor and the House have proposed moving money forward to this year’s Medicaid budget from next year. Money also would be moved forward into higher education to ensure compliance with federal stimulus requirements.
“I urge lawmakers and the Governor to work together on a common-sense solution to what are admittedly tough challenges,” Todd said. “We realize that everyone must share in the pain of a national recession. We’ve done our part, cutting millions of dollars internally to generate efficiencies and foregoing raises for three years. But cutting education, in my judgment, is not the path to prosperity or even real savings. It would represent a step backward. We need to be moving forward as a state together.”