Kentuckians should rally to support our college and university funding. The already announced cuts in state funding of $24 million and the recently announced cuts of another $45 million cannot be accepted.
I am a first-generation college graduate, the only one in my family who received a college education. I spent my whole career paying taxes in Kentucky, except two years I lived in Ohio. The earnings that I paid Kentucky taxes on over 37 years were at least $600,000 to $750,000 higher because of my college degrees. This increase was mostly taxed at the 8 percent level, which means that I paid the state of Kentucky an additional $48,000 to $60,000 in taxes. That amounts to about $1,300 more each year.
If you assume that 25 percent of Kentucky's population of 4 million people graduate from college, that means that $1.3 billion a year has been added to the state's General Fund because of post-secondary education. Is it worth it to the state to jeopardize that much money?
The low-hanging fruit is the easiest to pick, but it is not necessarily the best fruit to grab. Usually the fruit toward the top is better because it is ripened by the sun and has a less bitter taste. I think it is time to think about the future to make things better for everyone in Kentucky. I don't think revenue is the biggest problem in Kentucky, but rather politics and waste. In the city of Lexington alone, government has far outgrown service in cost, and I am sure the same is true where you live. Part-time council members have voted to have full-time assistants doing their work at costs that exceed the cost of the council members themselves.
If you have ever attended college in Kentucky, or even if you would have a goal for your children or grandchildren to have a better life than you have had, please contact your legislator and let him or her know that you will not tolerate a second-rate educational facility in our state as long as politics and waste are tolerated in Frankfort.
Richard A. Perry of Lexington, who graduated from Bellevue High School in 1954 and Eastern Kentucky State Collegian 1958, is president of the Eastern Kentucky University National Alumni Association and a member of the Inter-Alumni Council for the Kentucky Postsecondary Council on Education.
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