Kentucky Gov. Sued Over Higher Education Cuts

     (CN) – Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear on Monday sued Gov. Matt Bevin, claiming the governor overstepped his authority by slashing state funding for higher education without legislative approval.
     Bevin, a Republican, was elected last year. He has proposed $650 million in state spending cuts over the next two years as part of an effort to pay down Kentucky’s state pension plan debt.
     As part of the budget proposal, Bevin called for a $41 million cut in funding for the state’s public colleges and universities.
     The legislature rejected the proposal, but Bevin, who insists the state’s public pension plan is on the brink of insolvency, made the cuts anyway.
     Beshear, a Democrat, blasted the move, saying “The governor’s unilateral action in cutting the appropriated funding of colleges, universities and community colleges was outside of his authority. it requires a declared shortfall that does not exist. If it did, the last budget bill that was passed and signed into law dictates the steps that must be taken.”
     He gave the governor seven days to restore the funding, but the governor ignored him.
     During a Monday afternoon press conference, Beshear said “The general welfare and material well-being of citizens of the Commonwealth depend in large measure upon the development of a well-educated and highly trained workforce.”
     “Those are not my words, they are Kentucky law – passed by the legislature and codified into law. So in Kentucky, a university or community college education is not a privilege, it is a vital necessity for our economic survival. That’s not my opinion, that’s the law,” the attorney general said.
     Beshear said he did not filed the lawsuit happily, but felt had to in order to challenge the governor’s view of the law.
     “Under his view, a budget is merely a suggestion and the legislature is merely an advisory body,” the attorney general said. “The governor is claiming he can defund areas like the SEEK funds, the Kentucky State Police or the entire Kentucky Unified Prosecutorial System at any time for any reason.”

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