The most crucial thing lawmakers must do in the 2022 session is craft the state’s next two-year budget. Kentucky House Republicans filed their version of a budget Friday morning with investments in education, infrastructure, and a focus on justice needs.
Typically, legislation with a budget proposal is not typically presented by the legislative body until after the governor presents his plans in a budget address mid-January.
The House proposal, filed as three bills, House Bill 1, House Bill 241, and House Bill 244 by House Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chair Jason Petrie, totals $51 billion in state and federal dollars annually providing funding for the executive and judicial branches of government as well as a transportation spending plan.
Key areas of spending include:
- Returns the unemployment insurance fund to pre-pandemic levels by allocating $312 million in ARPA funds
- Provides $200 million for the required state match for the federal infrastructure package
- Provides a 6% raise for public employees in the FY 22-23 and requires the Secretary of Personnel to develop a plan to revise the classification and compensation for funding in the second year
- Allocates $350 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding towards clean water and wastewater projects to be allocated to each county by population
- An increase in the Base SEEK guarantee to a record high dollar amount of $4,100 in the first fiscal year and $4,200 in the second fiscal year. Every dollar SEEK is increased translates into an additional investment of $800,000 in public school districts.
- Doubles state funding for full-day kindergarten in both fiscal years to cover the entire cost.
- Fully funds the actuarially required contribution for the Kentucky Retirement System at $1.2 billion per year
- Fully funds Kentucky Teachers Retirement System at the actuarially required contribution rather than that required by law, allocating an estimated $1.067 billion in the first year and $1.084 billion in the second year.
- Provides $50 million additional in each year to the performance-based funding model available to the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, and Kentucky Community and Technical Colleges.
- Raises the salary and institutes a retention payment for social workers totaling approximately, this is a $25.6 million increase in the first year and a $61.7 million increase in the second year
- Provides a $15,000 pay increase to Kentucky State Police (KSP) Troopers and Motor Vehicle Inspectors
- Provides a 6% raise to deputy circuit court clerks
“This budget, crafted under the leadership of Chairman Petrie, Vice Chair Reed, and our Appropriations and Revenue subcommittee chairs, is a responsible spending plan that not only meets today’s needs but leaves us far better prepared for the future. We are in a strong financial position, but our economy is still in a precarious position. I know there are those calling for us to spend federal dollars as fast as we receive them, but you can’t spend the same dollar twice – we have to get it right the first time,” said Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne.
Governor Andy Beshear is expected to make his budget recommendations available to lawmakers during a Budget Address on January 13.
The budgeting process at the legislative level typically begins by moving through the House. The Senate will have its own budget proposal and many changes are likely to be made to all versions before a final budget is agreed upon.
Stay tuned to The Bottom Line for more updates on the state budget.