FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- House Democrats say they would agree to spend less on state colleges and universities if it means lawmakers could reach an agreement on a two-year plan to spend more than $65 billion in public money.
Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo said House leaders offered a compromise on Wednesday that would reduce spending on higher education by 2 percent in the budget year that begins July 1. Spending levels would remain the same for the following budget year.
University Presidents have sent letter to Bevin, Stumbo and Stivers saying they would accept a 2 percent cut this year and 4.5 percent in the next two years.
Senate Majority Leader John Cox released a statement Friday:
"University presidents have signed a written letter stating that they are willing and able to go along with the Senate’s middle-ground compromise of a 4.5 percent reduction over the next two fiscal years. There are no meetings currently scheduled between the House and Senate, but my staff has alerted House staff of our ability to sit down for a discussion this weekend.”
Senate Republicans have insisted on cuts to higher education in order to pay more money toward the state's public pension debt. House Democrats had refused to make any cuts to public education. Stumbo said the proposal retains his party's commitment to education while moving the budget process forward.
Senate Republicans have not responded to the proposal. They have to made a decision by Sunday night in order to vote Tuesday.
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