The candidates for Kentucky’s 5th District House of Representatives seat are sounding off on Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed 9 percent cut to state universities.
Murray State officials are circulating a change.org petition in opposition to the cuts that has – as of Friday afternoon – gained nearly 2,500 signatures in the last two days.
Incumbent Republican state Rep. Kenny Imes says he’s been inundated with emails about the cuts in recent days. Imes, who supported Bevin during his gubernatorial campaign, said he’s actually more concerned about the 4.5 percent budget cut on the table for the remaining fiscal year than the looming 9 percent decrease in funding but thinks there will be some compromise.
“The governor basically had six weeks to put this budget together, so I think there’s going to be a lot of negotiation between the House,” Imes said. “The House will hear the budget first.”
Imes said that funding the Breathitt Veterinary Center represents around 7 percent of MSU’s operating budget and that if that money wasn’t subject to the proposed cuts it would take pressure off school officials to meet budget demands.
Democratic candidate David Ramey said he’s told House leaders that MSU is too important to the Jackson Purchase to shoulder the budget cuts outlined in the governor’s biennial budget. Ramey, the chair of the Calloway County Democratic Party, said if he were in Frankfort, he’d be fighting for more money being invested in higher education.
“You know, we’ve had leaders in Frankfort before, like Freed Curd, that could get a lot of things done for Murray State University and for our community, and that’s the state Representative I want to be,” Ramey said.
Both candidates are unopposed in May’s primary.