Friday, April 01, 2016

What the Democrat Industrial Complex is missing in Bevin's higher education cuts move

As they so often do, the Lexington Herald Leader and Louisville Courier Journal failed in their reporting of Gov. Matt Bevin's order to cut state General Fund higher education spending by 4.5% in the current fiscal year. This poor reporting does not serve readers seeking to understand issues underpinning the move and allowed House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-of course) to claim falsely that Gov. Bevin is violating state law.

The statute related to appropriation reductions is KRS 48.600, which would indeed prohibit Bevin from ordering midyear spending cuts in this instance. But Bevin isn't ordering spending cuts in the sense of an appropriation reduction which that statute governs. He's ordering a revision of the allotment schedule, governed by KRS 48.620, which is within his power.

The difference is an appropriation reduction is deemed necessary in statute in the case of a revenue shortfall and an allotment reduction within an appropriation, which this is, can be authorized by the state budget director pursuant to KRS 48.605(1)(a). The legislature can object to the move, but KRS 48.500 clearly gives the Governor the upper hand in such a dispute.