Governor and legislative leaders to announce plans to pave the way for university projects

01/09/2013 05:54 PM

Gov. Steve Beshear and the legislative leaders will announce their support to allow the universities to move forward with selling bonds for specific projects, according to multiple legislators.

The Herald-Leader also reported that renovations to UK’s Commonwealth Stadium. Reporter Linda Blackford quoted Western Kentucky University President Gary Ransdell as saying that each of the universities submitted a list of projects.

Several lawmakers confirmed to Pure Politics that legislative leaders from both parties would announce their endorsement of the plan to let the universities float bonds to cover the payments for the projects. The announcement is set for 10:30 a.m. at the Capitol and will feature Beshear, Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Republican Senate President Robert Stivers along side five university presidents.

One of the legislators, Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, has supported past efforts to allow universities the flexibility to sell bonds that could be paid off using revenue streams — like room and board fees or athletic tickets — without the General Assembly’s approval. The legislature has always had to pass legislation giving public universities’ permission because any debt those schools take on would count toward the state’s total debt capacity.

“I have always supported the universities having flexibility to issue their own bonds. I think we have too often tried to micromanage their ability to do so. In many cases, their ratings are higher than the state’s bond rating,” Damron said.

Damron said he found out about the nature of announcement from the University of Kentucky but wasn’t notified by the governor’s office. He said he wasn’t briefed on which projects the universities will be allowed to float bonds in order to build.

Jay Blanton, spokesman for University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, referred questions to the governor’s office.

Kerri Richardson, spokeswoman for Beshear, said she couldn’t comment.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or ryan.alessi@twcnews.com.

Comments

  • Felix wrote on January 09, 2013 09:45 PM :

    Hopefully the Republican leaders in Frankfort will not stand side by side with tax and spend liberal democrats and approve allowing the Universities to borrow more money that Kentucky has to back in the case of default to build more football stadiums. Surely republicans won’t borrow millions of dollars to spend on UK football? Maybe Sen Stivers can rename the UK stadium the Richie Farmer Football Complex after his fellow Clay Countian whom he recruited to run for agriculture secretary and stood with back in 2003?

  • Wildcat 23 wrote on January 10, 2013 10:35 AM :

    The University’s bond rating perfectly allows them to do this and I applaud everyone involved. Also kudos to a former football wildcat who helped put this deal together.

  • voter wrote on January 10, 2013 02:59 PM :

    wildcat 23, who is the former football wildcat who put the deal together?

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