Kentucky House approves revised budget that would secure $280 million for UK

Kentucky governor Matt Bevin addresses the Commonwealth with his budget for the next two years on Tuesday at the Capitol building in Frankfort. The budget included a $110 million cut from UK’s state general funding over the next two years.

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After UK President Eli Capilouto enlisted students and faculty to call their representatives and protest cuts to post-secondary education, the Kentucky House of Representatives approved a budget Wednesday securing $280 million for the university.

HB 303 eliminated the cuts to post-secondary and K-12 education proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin without eliminating money set aside to address the state’s pension crisis—though at the expense of some of Bevin’s proposed programs.

Capilouto sent out a campus-wide email Wednesday thanking staff and students for their continued efforts to talk to the legislature as the bill approaches the Senate, and thanking representatives for listening to the voices of the university.

“I am very grateful to the members of the House for their willingness to listen to our story; and to sustain our funding in a very difficult budget environment,” Capilouto wrote in the email. “The Governor has rightly placed the substantial pension challenge at the center of our budget conversations; and the House also has aggressively addressed the problem.”

Capilouto said the university is serving the state by educating more than 30,000 students, seeing millions of people in their hospitals and clinics, and conducting research that is impacting Kentucky’s communities.

The House did not carry Bevin’s proposed $100 million for a new workforce development scholarship for community colleges, but his proposed 4.5 percent cuts for this fiscal year will still be felt by most of the other government agencies.