Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear presented his budget proposal Tuesday night that increases funding for K-12 and higher education, provides a raise for teachers and state employees, fully funds the pension systems, prioritizes certain transportation projects, and more. The budget, Beshear says, is balanced and built upon expected new revenues from sports wagering and tobacco and vaping taxes.
Beshear’s “education first” budget includes a $2,000 raise for teachers which would occur in the first year of the upcoming budget, a one percent increase in per-pupil SEEK funding providing an additional $87.5 million for public schools, $11 million in each year for new textbooks, and $18.2 million for school security upgrades.
The budget also includes an increase in higher education funding with a one percent increase in funding to the state’s colleges and universities and a bond pool that will allow them to make upgrades they need.
His proposal includes fully funding the state’s pension systems as well as Medicaid and the state’s Medicaid expansion.
Beshear said he also plans to give state employees a two percent raise over two years, more money to go toward hiring more social workers, prioritized spending for Kentucky’s coal counties and urban areas, and other additional spending.
The governor also stated transportation is critical to the state’s economy and the safety of Kentuckians. He said his budget prioritizes completion of major transportation projects including the Mountain Parkway and I-69 bridge as well as increased funding to improve the conditions of the state’s rural roads.
All the budget promises presented on Tuesday come with the assumption that the state will have an increase in revenues of more than $841 million over two years and an increase in money of around $147 million coming from sports wagering, an increase to the cigarette tax, a tax on vaping products, and an increase to the Limited Liability Entity Tax.
Those tax policies that would generate revenue would all have to be passed by the General Assembly during the 2020 session. Most of those issues have already been introduced as bills in the legislature but some of those proposed bills stipulated how revenue would be spent.
Now that the governor has presented his version of the budget, it will be sent to the state House where they will craft their own budget and vote on it before the state Senate works on their budget. Stay tuned to The Bottom Line throughout the 2020 session of the General Assembly to see what moves forward.