Tom Schrodt, professor emeritus of chemical engineering at the University of Kentucky, offers some fact-driven analysis on why the University of Pikeville should not be added to the state’s higher-education system.
Schrodt takes a look back at what happened when the University of Louisville was added to the state system in the 1960s and how supporters’ proposal to use severance taxes from Kentucky’s coal industry is an ill-advised approach for a couple of reasons: (1) the increase of cheaper clean-burning natural gas could diminish the actual amount of revenue produced by these taxes and (2) the money would be “unavailable for other uses.”
Severance tax dollars are used for badly needed water, sewer and other infrastructure projects. Schrodt is right when he says those dollars should not be used to add a further burden to state taxpayers while also likely driving up tuition for Kentucky’s college students.
“If the University of Pikeville is added to the state system, we can be assured its budget, like those of all universities, will grow and recur,” Schrodt wrote. “There will be no turning back and Frankfort will be looking for more tax money to support it.”