Budget compromise easily passes House and Senate on final day

Hand putting last piece of paper pie chart

UPDATE: The Kentucky state House of Representatives and state Senate voted Friday to pass the compromise reached on the state’s next two year budget.

A quick vote on the budget in the Senate without discussion came after Sen. Chris McDaniel laid out details of the agreement reached by the budget conference committee Thursday morning.

McDaniel explained that the state’s pension systems will receive additional funds to the tune of $973 million for Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS) and $186 million for Kentucky Retirement System (KRS).

The budget bill also includes $125 million to a “permanent fund” which is designed to go toward pension funding in the future. Language setting up the permanent fund was passed in the House Friday afternoon with a 96-0 vote on House Bill 238.

McDaniel stated the budget compromise version of House Bill 303 also includes $175 million going to the state’s “rainy day” fund.

In the House discussion of the budget, Rep. Rick Rand added that the budget agreement protects K-12 funding and also expands the eligibility for per-kindergarten to 200% of the poverty rate and more.

Other items included in the budget agreement include:

  • More than $1 billion in funding for the state’s ailing retirement systems
  • A new “permanent fund” with money to go toward the pension systems in the future
  • Cuts to higher education at 4.5% each year—a compromise from the originally proposed 9% cuts and the desire of the House to hold the state’s colleges and universities harmless
  • Criteria for a performance-based funding model for the state’s colleges and universities
  • $25 million for the “Work Ready” scholarship program proposed by the House to provide free tuition to the state’s community and technical colleges for incoming students
  • A $100 million bond pool for workforce development—a proposal from the governor which legislators added specific criteria to including only allowing one project per congressional district
  • Fully restoring any cuts to K-12 education
  • Maintaining the 4.5% cuts across many state government agencies
  • Increase in the state’s “rainy day” fund
  • An agreement on the state’s two-year Road Fund

The amended version of House Bill 303 passed the Senate 38-0 and the House 98-1 and now heads to the governor.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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