doing, we'll probably kick that up a bit, but not dramatically. But again, the vast
economic development strategy is built on a strong educational platform.
"Kentucky historically has had its economy relying on the extraction of resources,
such as coal, on agriculture, such as tobacco, and we've bragged a lot recently about
manufacturing. But I contend that what we are doing is asking our population to put
together and assemble other people's ideas. We have given them tax incentives to pull
them into the state, we have taken the position that we are not smart enough to create our
own companies, because we haven't invested in that direction, but we will give anybody
what they want to come into Kentucky and create some kind of job that very likely will
disappear in 10 years. There are very few of those that we are going to hold onto.
"We must raise our economy to a higher level, one that is based on our own
intellectual prowess. Kentucky companies that are started in Kentucky will stay in
Kentucky. And we do have the ability, with the research programs we have, to attract the
new-economy type companies into Kentucky if we target our efforts in that direction.
"We must generate and create creative thinkers that can help us build this vibrant
economy that we must have.
"That was the goal of House Bill 1. And we cannot shrink from that vision.
"The flagship - this university - is doing what we were asked to do. We are
bringing in record numbers of students and each year in the last three years, the quality
has gotten better. We have set research records, and we will do so, very likely, again this
year. We are running about 12 percent ahead of last year. We are bringing in faculty
from around the country who are renowned in the field. That was what we were asked to
do, and we are doing it.
"And I will say that we have been running this $1.4 billion enterprise more
efficiently every day. And that started two and a half years ago.
"I will also contend, that we cannot, as a state, cut our way to excellence. There
are some states where they might be able to afford the cut because they had a larger
foundation to deal with than what we did. We were on the upswing, and we can't afford
the kind of cuts that we have been seeing.
"Some people would like you to believe that we were on an upward task and
everyone was proud of that, and you heard it around the nation, and that this might be a
bump-in-the-road, and then we'll recover when the economy picks back up. My concern
is that it could also be a drop off the cliff. Because the people that we convinced to come
here from the benchmark institutions that we are trying to emulate have come here
because they felt there was a certain thing going on in Kentucky - in higher education.
And they want to be a part of it. And momentum in higher education shifts just like it
does in basketball games. When the other team gets it, you will find that people like
Vanderbilt start coming after our top faculty, and we lose that game.