Racers in Action
Legislative Action Alert
Updated - 04/09/2016
An Action Alert from Murray State President Bob Davies
Friends and Colleagues,
As we near the end of the Legislative Session, budget discussions between the House and the Senate have resumed. Late last week all public college and university Presidents were asked to join legislative leaders and Governor Bevin to discuss the budget impasse. We all agree that it is critical to have a budget signed and enacted by the beginning of the fiscal year.
On Friday, following a series of additional meetings with legislative leadership and the Governor, and faced with the possibility of no budget, the University Presidents agreed to support a compromise regarding higher education funding. It was made clear that the Governor was very reluctant to accept anything below a 4.5 percent base reduction in the upcoming biennium budget—half of the Governor’s original proposed reductions—and he would agree to a 2 percent rescission this fiscal year, if it is determined by the courts to be permissible, instead of the original 4.5 percent. With this information, to avoid a potential budget impasse and at the specific request of the Governor, all of the Presidents (except Kentucky State University due to their unique challenges and circumstances) agreed to sign the attached letter.
The House leadership on Friday afternoon provided a new proposal that includes higher education cuts of 2 percent. The House and Senate will continue to meet and negotiate over the next several days. I remain hopeful that a compromise will be reached and a finalized budget will be presented to the Governor which he will agree to sign.
Reaching this decision of compromise was difficult as I know these—or any—budget cuts, if enacted, will have a significant impact on our University. However, the prospect of no budget was far worse than these cuts. This decision did not come lightly and was based on the commitment of our state leaders to invest in higher education in the near future.
I want to reiterate that we have been preparing since January in anticipation of these proposed budget cuts, as well expected increases in expenses. We established two budget task force committees (Academics and Support) to evaluate and prioritize all functions across the University. These two committees have been sharing their insights and recommendations with me, which I will continue to discuss and vet with my Executive Committee before making a final recommendation to the Board of Regents.
We will be scheduling a Town Hall meeting once the Governor has signed a budget. In addition, I will update you when appropriate with new developments.
Despite these challenging times, we must continue to focus on our vision of being a nationally- recognized University, noted for our student-centered values. We have a long and proud tradition of meeting challenges directly, overcoming them, and remaining true to our core values and aspirations. I am confident that we will make the necessary changes, set our attention to the important tasks at hand, and chart a pathway that will allow us to live up to our national reputation of high academic standards and an unparalleled commitment to the teaching and learning of our students.
I appreciate the hard work and dedication our faculty, staff and students have shown during these challenging times. Thank you for your continued commitment to Murray State University – the finest place we know!