Conference committee releases budget with focus on retiree health insurance and education funding
After many days of discussions and debate over what will be included in the next two-year state budget, the budget conference committee released their final document Monday morning, sending it to the House and Senate for passage.
The conference committee report of House Bill 200, the state budget for the next two years, contains full funding of the Kentucky Retirement System (KRS) and Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS) with some additional funds going into the systems.
For KTRS, the retiree insurance issue for those under the age of 65 is addressed in the budget by adding $59.5 million and requiring the KTRS Medical Insurance Fund to absorb the employer costs of single coverage which leaders say will ensure no retired teachers will see an increase in premiums or decrease in coverage.
For KRS, the budget puts no money into the legislative retirement plan over the next two years and instead puts those funds toward the unfunded liability of the state police pension plan. The budget also contains language that puts any surplus funds toward the unfunded liability of the KERS nonhazardous pension fund, the worst funded pension plan in the country.
As for education funding, K-12 funding in the SEEK formula will be increased to $4,000 per pupil appropriation, an increase in that funding. And school transportation funds are also increased under the budget.
Additional funding is also included for areas like social workers salaries, assistance with foster care placement services, state police allocations, and other areas.
The conference committee also released a tax reform plan for the state which goes hand in hand with the budget bill.
Check back on The Bottom Line for details of the tax reform plan and information on both bills as they move through the legislative process today.