Arkansas Lawmaker Proposes Cut To Higher Education Funding

Mar 17, 2015

File photo of Sen. Bart Hester speaking on the floor of the Senate in February.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

An Arkansas lawmaker says the state should cut funding for public colleges and universities as much as $14.6 million.

Republican Sen. Bart Hester of Cave Springs on Tuesday said he'll propose cutting higher education funding by 1 percent or 2 percent in the coming fiscal year. Hester said the money saved could go instead toward tax cuts or other needs such as pre-kindergarten.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has proposed keeping higher education funding flat in his $5.2 billion budget plan. Hutchinson has called for boosting funding for public schools, prisons and Medicaid, while most other agencies would see a 1 percent cut.

Hester said he'll propose the cut when lawmakers take up the state's budget bill, which legislative leaders hope to finalize in the coming weeks.