After a great deal of work from the budget conference committee members over the last four weeks the General Assembly delivered a compromise budget document that passed with only one "nay" vote between both chambers. Make no mistake, the executive branch budget is a compromise. There are parts I support and there are parts that certainly don't, but the legislature is tasked with finding a way to draft a budget, which means each side gets some of what they want and neither side gets everything. One of my primary objectives in the budget was to provide a healthy payment toward our worst-in-the-country pension funds. That has been accomplished with over $1.2B set aside for pensions, and a mechanism to redirect savings toward the same.
The Judicial branch was spared from many of the cuts originally written by the House. Several of us successfully fought to restore those funds to protect our drug courts, veterans treatment courts, deputy clerks, and court designated workers (to name a few). The additional judicial funding along with Governor's line item veto in part of the judiciary's budget bill has provided the courts with sufficient resources to make sure Kentuckians have the access to the court system they need.
After the main budget bill (the budget for the executive branch) was passed by the Senate a drafting error was caught that resulted in a last minute bill being used to correct the language. That last minute correction appears in House Bill 10.
Finally, the Road Plan was passed. This includes the bill spending the money on road projects over the next two years and a resolution that gives the intent (for future general assemblies) for the next four years after the biennium, otherwise known as the "out years."
The Budget Bills
THE EXECUTIVE BUDGET INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
- Work Force Bonds $100 Million
- Equity Funding (NKU and WKU)
- Constitutional officers cut 3.75%
- Lexington Convention Center (bonding authority)
- Performance Base funding for Univ
- Library Construction funds
- Urgent needs schools
- No cuts to KET
- Dual Credit money
- No cuts to K-12
- Kentucky State Univ no cuts
- Atwood center funding
- Coal funding 45 million
- Judicial Branch additional $34 million
- Publishing requirements for counties over 100,000 on legal advertising.
- Universities allowed 2 projects
- Pike funding for optometrist program slots
- Foster care additional funding
- CASA funding
- Unexpired tobacco debt service reauthorized .
SIX URGENT NEEDS SCHOOLS INCLUDING:
- Lewis County
- Breckinridge County
- Raceland Independent
- Hart County
- Boyle County
- Morgan County