Daily WTF: Matt Bevin Circumventing the Law to Slash Education

It is no secret that I dislike Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin. I dislike that he’s going to shut down Kynect, one of the nation’s best state-run health insurance sites. I dislike that he’s going to roll back health coverage for his neediest citizens. I dislike that he fast-tracked Benefind before it was ready, causing problems for thousands of Kentuckians. I dislike that he de-values higher education, especially in the humanities and arts. I dislike that he tried to shut down a fully legal abortion clinic. I dislike that he supports cock fighting and refuses to release his tax returns. I dislike that he will leave his state during a national emergency to attend a fundraiser. I dislike him.

But this past week, Bevin gave me a new reason to dislike him: after the Kentucky legislature was unable to reach a budgetary agreement within 48 hours, he demanded that they cut funding for higher education by 4.5% by close of business day. It didn’t matter that that’s not how government works. It didn’t matter that he has no legal rights to circumvent the legislature. It doesn’t matter that even Republicans agreed not to cut higher education funds mid-year. All that mattered is that Bevin wanted it and wanted it now. 

Bevin is behaving like a child throwing a temper tantrum because Mummy and Daddy wouldn’t give him what he wanted. So what if the House didn’t want to give him half a billion dollars to hold onto while our teachers’ pensions are running dry. So what if the House and the Senate took more than 24 hours to reach an agreement. That’s life. That’s government. These things take time, compromise, and research. You just don’t hash a two-year state budget over lunch.

Governor Bevin seems to believe that he’s still running a 20-person strong bell factory in Connecticut. He seems to think that he can behave as some sort of hyper-vigilant micromanager who can just sneak up behind his employees and bully them into doing what he wants. But that’s not the way government works. That’s not the power a governor has. Thinking so betrays Bevin’s ignorance.

Fortunately, Kentucky has some politicians who will not allow themselves to be bullied. Attorney General Andy Beshear has already threatened legal action if Governor Bevin will not rescind his executive order. House Democrats have threatened the same. If all sides refuse to cave, we may have a government shutdown on our hands. Hopefully, Bevin will see sense before then.

However, given his obstinacy about destroying Kynect, I’m not sure he will. So if you’d like to contact Governor Bevin and let him know what you think of his little temper tantrum, click here, here, and here. Governing’s not always easy and it’s not always fast, Bevin, but you’ve still got to abide by the laws.

* Image taken from http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/education/article57777833.html


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