state budget

Michael Benson, PhD

  It’s been a busy academic on the  campuses of Eastern Kentucky University. One major issue this winter and spring has been the adjustment of university finances to compensate for state budget cuts. 

On this week’s show, we’ll discuss university finances and other issues as we welcome EKU President Michael Benson.

We’ll talk about what’s been going on and his views of the future for the school serving Central and Eastern Kentucky and beyond.

Kentucky University Presidents Meet with Governor Again

Apr 8, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Kentucky’s public university presidents remain in dialogue with Governor Bevin on funding matters.  College heads met at the governor’s mansion Wednesday evening to discuss the current budget impasse. 

Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson says higher education funding was a bargaining chip when he presided over a college in Utah and so it remains in Kentucky.  “So happens this year that it’s a really big chip,” Benson said. “And it’s one that’s kind of, the analogy we use is kind of the ping pong ball getting knocked back and forth.”

State Funding for Ky. Vet Students Faces Likely Debate

Mar 21, 2016

The status of a portion of state funding for Kentucky students accepted into Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine is in limbo.  The commonwealth is under agreement with the Alabama school to allow Kentucky students accepted into the veterinary program to pay in-state tuition, with Kentucky picking up the difference. 

Governor Bevin’s budget includes money to assist with tuition costs for 22 incoming students, leaving 16 openings unfunded. However, the House approved budget restored funding for the remaining spots.


Kentucky collected less tax money in May, but the decrease was likely not enough to endanger the state's budget projections.

Kentucky's chief budget officer said the state is more likely to avoid a shortfall after solid growth in tax collections through the first six months of the fiscal year.

State officials say Kentucky's 2015 budget is off to a good start.

The state collected more than $705 million in taxes and fees in July. That's 2.2 percent more than the state collected in July 2013.

Pablo Alcala / Lexington Herald Leader

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has signed an order to plug a $91 million hole in Kentucky's $9.5 billion state budget.

State officials announced the shortfall last week following sluggish collections on state income taxes. Beshear's order Wednesday cuts just $3 million in state spending. Beshear made up the rest by transferring money from other sources, including $21.2 million from the state's reserves.

State officials said they had few options to make up the deficit because the shortfall came at the end of the fiscal year when most of the money had already been spent.