KY legislature submits a draft budget prior to the governor’s proposal

FRANKFORT, Kentucky (LEX 18) – On Monday, Governor Andy Beshear criticized the Republicans at Kentucky House for submitting their draft budget before he got the chance to propose his budget.

“The drafting and filing of an executive budget without the knowledge or input from the executive itself is unprecedented, unprovoked, unprofessional, imprudent and perhaps even illegal,” said Beshear.

The governor wants to present his budget on Thursday. Usually lawmakers wait for the speech before moving on to household bills. But this year, Kentucky House Republicans tabled their bill last Friday.

On Saturday House Speaker David Osborne suggested waiting for the governor’s proposal would be a waste of time.

“The governor’s recommendations are just that – they are recommendations. We will 100% consider his recommendations throughout the process, ”said Osborne. “But I think deliberately waiting – ignoring months of intermediate work, months of committee work, months of work on budget review subcommittees – is frankly a waste of time.”

However, Beshear suggests the move is against the law.

“If, under state law, they continue to promote petitions filed before the executive or judiciary, then they have broken their own laws,” Beshear said.

The governor cited two laws to indicate that House Republicans are violating budgetary process laws:

  • 48.100 – “The Governor for the Executive, the Chief Justice for the Judiciary, and the Legislative Research Commission for the Legislature make a budgetary recommendation for the branch to the General Assembly.”
  • 48,300 – “The financial plan for each fiscal year as set out in the branch budget recommendation is adopted with any changes made by the General Assembly …”

“My hope is that it was a stunt, maybe to take some steam off the speech that is due on Thursday, and that it doesn’t break both tradition and the law,” said Beshear.

Beshear then encouraged the Kentuckers to look past the drama and focus on the bigger picture: Kentucky’s chance to invest in its future.

On Monday, Beshear unveiled the educational part of his draft budget. He describes his planned investments as “groundbreaking” and “state changing”.

“My budget adds a record amount of funding – nearly $ 2 billion in additional funding over the next biennium, pre-K through 12th grade,” said Beshear.

The governor’s budget is $ 915 million for fiscal 2023 and $ 983 million for fiscal 2024.

Overall, the governor’s plan increases the K-12-SEEK formula per student from $ 4,000 to $ 4,500, provides Pre-K to all Kentucky children, covers local district transportation costs, increases all public school staff by 5%, and creates a student loan allocation program for teachers and increases funding for public colleges and universities.

Here are more details about the governor’s proposal:

Public Pre-K through High School

  • Increases the SEEK formula per student from $ 4,000 to $ 4,300 in the next fiscal year and $ 4,500 in the following year. That’s an increase of 12.5%, which is an additional $ 159.7 million and $ 237.3 million over the current budget over these years.
  • Adds $ 175 million per year for local counties to fully cover transportation costs.
  • Funds all-day kindergartens and provides $ 172 million annually for the universal Pre-K. The Department of Education estimates that 34,000 four-year-olds are currently not enrolled in a public preschool or Head Start.
  • Full funding of teacher’s pension and medical benefits.
  • Requires a minimum five percent raise for all school employees, in addition to the regular increases for certified employees. Beshear said this is the first recorded pay increase in a state budget since the 2006-08 budget.
  • Contributes $ 26.3 million annually to a student loan program for at least 4,700 teachers. Teachers could receive a maximum of $ 3,000 per year for each year a public school teacher was employed.
  • Contributes $ 11 million to an early learning initiative to deliver nationwide professional learning for early literacy skills.
  • Includes $ 97.4 million to fund the renovation of an additional 11 vocational training centers in the area.
  • An additional $ 8 million annually to fund 12 locally operated vocational training centers. These centers have not been part of the funding formula for the past 12 years.
  • Contributes $ 11 million annually to textbooks / teaching aids.
  • Includes $ 6.2 million annually to promote social-emotional learning and the mental health of students and school staff.
  • Recovers $ 4.6 million in funding for the KY Education Technology system, which funds technology, sets standards, and provides technical services to public schools. This amount restores previous cuts and takes inflation into account.
  • Provides $ 14.4 million annually to support 48 schools identified as major support and improvement schools.
  • Adds nearly $ 6 million in funding for family resource and youth service centers.
  • Recovers $ 2.5 million in grants to local libraries.

Post-secondary education

  • Adds $ 67.5 million and $ 90 million for post-secondary education over the next two years. That is an increase of almost 12%.
  • Adds $ 60 million bond funds to the Bucks for Brains program. This should be matched dollar for dollar with private donations.
  • Includes $ 500 million to pay maintenance debts for the state’s nine post-secondary education institutions.
  • Contributes $ 16.3 million and $ 27.7 million over the next two years to the Kentucky Better Promise Scholarship. This provides free tuition and assistance in acquiring an associate degree or certificate for approximately 6,000 additional people in the first year and 9,700 in the second year.
  • Increases College Access Program (CAP) awards to $ 3,100 in the first year and $ 3,300 in the second year.
  • Ensures that Kentucky’s reserved spots in extra-state veterinary and optometry programs are intact with sufficient funds for their increased prices.

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