budget

Thinkstock

Republicans in the state Senate have proposed keeping most of the budget cuts sought by Gov. Matt Bevin, while rejecting House Republicans’ plan to raise about $500 million through taxes on cigarettes and pain pills.

The Senate’s version of the budget restores cuts Bevin had proposed for public school transportation funds, but colleges and universities would still see spending reductions.

Sen. Chris McDaniel, chair of the Senate budget committee, said the higher education cuts would go to fund several individual programs across the state’s college and universities.

A liberal-leaning public policy group said Kentucky’s per-pupil spending on public education is lower than it was ten years ago once inflation is taken into account.

During his budget address last month, Governor Bevin promised to maintain per-pupil funding for the state’s K-12 students.

But a report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy shows that when inflation is taken into account, the amount of money spent by the state on a per-pupil basis has actually decreased by 16 percent since 2008. Ashley Spalding is a senior policy analyst with KCEP. She said claims that public school funding has been maintained are misleading.

Bowling Green-Warren County Community Education

Community Education programs in Kentucky are in a bit of a panic as state lawmakers work to hammer out a new state budget.  Governor Matt Bevin’s budget proposal strips funding for all 95 community education programs in the commonwealth. 

If funding were eliminated, perhaps the greatest impact would be felt in the local non-profits' before and after school program for elementary children.  Many working parents depend on the service that sends Community Education employees into schools to provide childcare outside of normal school hours. 

J. Tyler Franklin

Leaders of Kentucky’s two largest universities warned lawmakers Thursday that Gov. Bevin’s proposed spending cuts would eliminate crucial programs and scholarships that benefit Kentuckians and attract businesses to the state.

Bevin has proposed cutting most state spending by 6.25 percent and eliminating 70 programs — many of which are in higher education.

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said that combined, the cuts add up to a little more than $26 million and would be equal to the school’s state funding 23 years ago.

Owensboro Public Schools/Facebook

As state lawmakers wrestle over Kentucky’s upcoming two-year budget, the Owensboro school superintendent said he will join other education leaders at the Capitol next week in an effort to convince legislators that investments in education are critical for economic growth.

When Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Nick Brake talks about the importance of the state investing in education, he speaks from his experience of working with business executives who are considering investing in Kentucky. Brake spent seven years as CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation and said states that make a commitment to quality education have a more robust economy in the long-term.

Public Domain

The chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court wants lawmakers to increase salaries for judges, clerks and non-elected Judicial Branch employees in an effort to make the positions more competitive with jobs outside the state.

Lawmakers are currently writing budgets for the state’s three branches of government amid a financial crunch spurred on by lax revenue growth and a pension crisis.

Chief Justice John Minton said the courts system is losing employees to surrounding states and other parts of state government.

Thinkstock

Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal for how Kentucky should spend public money over the next two years would eliminate the state’s share of funding for health insurance used by retired teachers.

Bevin’s budget would also do away with subsidies that about 3,500 employees use to pay for health insurance of dependents.

During a meeting of the Public Pension Oversight Board, budget director John Chilton said the state can’t afford the programs.

J. Tyler Franklin

This week, Gov. Matt Bevin presented his proposal for how the state should spend its money over the next two years. In his budget address, Bevin called for cutting spending, putting more money into the pension systems and totally eliminating 70 programs across state government.

Bevin argues additional funding is necessary for the state’s unfunded pension liability, but critics say the reductions will cut some key services to the bone, or end them entirely.


Daviess Co. Public Schools

Superintendents across the state are reacting to governor Matt Bevin’s proposed cuts to transportation spending for school districts. The proposal would require local districts to cover 75 percent of those costs--much more than the 42 percent they pay now.

Pulaski County Superintendent Steve Butcher, is concerned that the proposed cuts would make it difficult to get kids to school.


Creative Commons

Governor Matt Bevin’s proposed budget is drawing mixed reaction from the Kentucky School Boards Association. While the KSBA is glad the governor is promising to maintain per-pupil spending, the group has other concerns.

In his state of the commonwealth address Tuesday night, Bevin suggested schools consider dipping into their reserve funds to make up for any spending cuts they could see in the next year. Director of Governmental Relations for KSBA, Eric Kennedy, said not every school district would be able to follow the governor’s suggestion.

ThinkStock

A panel of economists is more pessimistic about Kentucky’s tax revenue than it was a few months ago. The group revised downward its prediction of how much Kentucky will make in tax revenue by the end of the fiscal year in June.

The Consensus Forecasting Group on Friday predicted that the state will be $156.1 million short of initial projections, down from $155 million predicted in October.

Kentucky Colleges Seek More Funding in Tight Budget Year

Nov 3, 2017

Kentucky's public colleges and universities want more money, but Republican lawmakers say the best they can hope for is to break even.

The Council on Postsecondary Education approved its two-year budget request Friday, asking for an extra $160 million in state funding for the state's eight public universities and its network of community and technical colleges.

About 35 percent of that money would be for additional operating expenses, while the rest would be a combination of debt payments and retirement contributions.

Kentucky Revenue Receipts Suggest Slow Growth

Aug 11, 2014
Thinkstock

New data released by the state’s budget office suggest that Kentucky’s General Fund isn’t growing fast enough, and could lead to another budget shortfall.

July receipts show that Kentucky brought in about $706 million in July, a 2.2 increase over last year.

But Jason Bailey, director for the nonpartisan Kentucky Center for Economic Progress, says that the sluggish growth won’t be enough to meet official revenue projections.

“Two-point-two percent growth for July, which is better than zero, but still lower than what we need for the year which is about 3.6 percent to avoid another budget shortfall,” said Bailey.

The data show that while income and sale tax receipts grew by single digits, returns on corporate and property taxes were down 64 and 45 percent, respectively.

Gov. Steve Beshear recently plugged a $90.9 million shortfall in the previous year’s budget that was chiefly caused by a sharp decline in individual income tax receipts.

Kentucky LRC

Amid a $91 million state revenue shortfall, the Kentucky legislature’s Government Contract  Review Committee approved $1.3 billion worth of contracts this month. Outgoing Republican Sen. Sara Beth Gregory is a co-chair of the committee. She says the high dollar figure comes at the beginning of a new fiscal year, when  large numbers of contracts are typically renewed -- about 1,700 contracts in July alone.

But Gregory says that there are still contracts that creep into the committee that warrant more scrutiny from the public and the media.

 “It is somewhat surprising how much is overseen by this committee and how much comes before this committee or has the potential to come before this committee with relatively little press coverage,” said Gregory.

Gregory  says  the committee’s decisions can be overruled by the secretary of the finance cabinet, and that the best they can do is try to draw attention to contracts that award more money than they should.

The Legislative Ethics Commission reports that despite a reduction in contracts for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the amount swelled to $3.4 billion from 2007 to 2011.

Kentucky LRC

House and Senate lawmakers are far from agreeing on how to spend $20 billion in tax money during the next two years.

Talks broke down early Friday afternoon over $1 million for expanded cancer screenings and $500,000 to replace a roof at a domestic violence shelter in Louisville.

Senate Republicans argued the cancer screening money is unnecessary now that Medicaid and private insurance plans are required to pay for them under the federal Affordable Care Act. Democrats say the money is still needed because not everyone has signed up for insurance yet.

Lawmakers have yet to discuss big issues in the budget, including a 1.5 cents-per-gallon increase in the gas tax and $65 million for the renovation of Rupp Arena in Lexington.

Pages