As a student of the University of Kentucky, I am glad that we have received state funding to make improvements to Rupp Arena. But as someone who has lived in Eastern Kentucky, I was saddened that the state decided to take some of the money that belongs to coal counties and give it to us. This isn’t the first time money has been taken from the region and used for projects around the state.
Recently, judge-executives and others in Frankfort started a conversation about increasing the amount of coal-severance taxes that would go back to Eastern Kentucky. The region has been hurting from the recession, the tornado that struck about five years back and flooding this year. Kentuckians need to think about the decision to take money from coal counties.
In recent years, coal has started to fade, as has the money it provides to the already struggling communities. By taking money that rightly belongs to these counties, we are taking money that would go for parks, community centers, schools, hospitals and other real necessities in life.
We need to help provide for a region that has given back to us economically and culturally. It is our duty and our representatives’ duty to ensure this money makes it to the region that needs help the most.
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Matthew S. Whisman
Ky. Student Environmental Coalition