Mary Lassiter

Despite the end of the economic recession and a growth in state revenue, Kentucky’s budget will remain tight. Former Budget Director, now Cabinet Secretary Mary Lassiter will address a joint House and Senate budget committee Tuesday.

She is expected to say state programs and agencies should not expect cuts in recent years to be restored in the next State budget.  Lassiter tells the Courier-Journal, “There’s no money for anything.” 

Lassiter says any new revenue in the state budget passed in 2014 budget will be consumed by additional spending required for pensions, Medicaid, and replacing one-time funds being spent on recurring needs in the current budget.  She declined to say if the tight long-term revenue outlook will also be the theme of the State of the Commonwealth address Gov. Steve Beshear is to deliver Wednesday night.

Kentucky budget officials say they are paying close attention to revenue as the state budget sees a flat growth at the start of the fiscal year. Budget director Mary Lassiter says in her monthly briefing that August revenues ticked up, helping make up 2 percent of losses in July. But that leaves revenues flat, while forecasters had expected an almost 3 percent growth this year.

Despite accounting mistakes and unforeseen disaster relief expenses, state government is closing the 2012 budget with another surplus. Originally, the budgetary surplus was $83 million. Now it's almost halved to $45 million.

A slowly recovering Kentucky economy has pushed tax revenues beyond what had been projected by a panel of economic experts over the past year. Budget Director Mary Lassiter said Tuesday the state's General Fund tax revenue for the fiscal year that ended June 30 was $83 million more than expected.