The Economic Development Council of Buffalo County, the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Kearney Visitors Bureau have serious concerns about the recent and projected cuts to the University of Nebraska system. We particularly are concerned with how these cuts will affect the University of Nebraska at Kearney and greater Nebraska.

We believe the extent of the announced cuts already has had a direct and adverse effect on central Nebraska and we have heard from many business owners, community leaders and other individuals who share the same concern. The proposed cuts have caused students, parents and teachers to question whether choosing the University of Nebraska is a good decision. Ask the 56 student athletes and the 10 incoming freshmen, who are losing their programs, how this first round of cuts is affecting their decision to choose UNK.

This is our future workforce that we desperately need to support, grow and keep in our state. And this represents just the first round of proposed cuts with more on the way.

Every business in our community will be affected either by a reduction in our educated workforce, a reduction in visitors to our community, or the loss of families that will either choose, or be forced, to leave the community. The position cuts also represent a reduction in dozens of new families buying homes and bringing their partners and extended families to fill jobs and invest in Nebraska.

UNK contributes more than $653 million annually to Nebraska’s economy with more than $115 million annually to the Kearney area economy. Direct spending by UNK and its faculty, staff and students creates sales and employment opportunities for local businesses. Spending on higher education is the only area where state spending actually provides a return on our investment.

The University of Nebraska returns $6 for every $1 the state invests.

The cuts to the university are not just economic. The cuts are unraveling years of work and philanthropic support to build programs and years of state-invested dollars to build confidence in our university system. The cuts also are creating years of anxiety for the students who are directly affected by these cuts. To make matters worse, the university receives only 13 percent of the state’s general fund, but is being asked to take roughly 34 percent of the total cut being imposed across state government.

For all these reasons, and more, we urge area community members and business leaders to contact your state senator and tell them no more cuts to the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Darren Robinson - President Economic Development Council of Buffalo County

Derek Rusher - President/CEO Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce

Roger Jasnoch -Director Kearney Visitors Bureau