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Bevin Does it Again....

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." --Abraham Lincoln 

In what is becoming an all too familiar tactic, Governor Matt Bevin has taken unilateral action to immediately cut funding for Kentucky's colleges and universities.  Citing KRS 48.620(1), Bevin ordered the State Budget Director and the Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet to reduce the budgeted allotments of money to 8 of Kentucky's universities and all of Kentucky's community and technical colleges by 4.5%.  Bevin took this step despite the fact that both the Democratically controlled House and the Repbulican Senate refused to include these cuts in their respective budget proposals.  

Leaving aside whether cutting the budgets of the state's universities and colleges is a good idea, the real problem with Bevin's action is that he apparently beleives he has both the legal and moral authority to unilaterally impact thousands of college and university students without the involvement of the Legislature.  The law that he cites permits the heads of each branch of the state government to revise budget allotments (downward only) for their individual branches.  So, for example, the Chief Justice of Kentucky's Supreme Court could reduce the budget allotment for copying expenses during any given fiscal term if he found a cheaper way to make copies.  

Bevin uses this law, which was obviously designed to permit the heads of each branch of government to save on operational expenses when appropriate, to circumvent the entire budgeting process in such a way to negatively impact Kentucky's entire higher education system.  It is important to keep in mind that Kentucky's universities and colleges operate, in large measure, according to the budgets passed by the Legislature.  Now, these institutions must scramble to deal with the fact that they will be receiving less funding than promised.  Inevitably, this will impact the students who are simply trying to further their education and make a better life.

Whether Bevin's action is lawful is yet to be seen.  Speaker Stumbo has indicated that the House is looking at whether the Governor has exceeded his constitutional authority.  It is clear now, however, that although he sold himself to Kentucky on his supposed dedication to limited constitutional government, Bevin has no desire to carry through with that promise. 

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