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January 17, 2018

Bevin calls for eliminating 70 programs, spending cuts to fund pension reform

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday night proposed a budget that he said would eliminate 70 state programs and cut spending at most agencies by 6.25 percent while fully funding state pension plans.

...the governor gave a high priority in the lean spending plan to the main public school funding program known as SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky), saying its funding will not be cut....the governor gave a high priority in the lean spending plan to the main public school funding program known as SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky), saying its funding will not be cut.And the governor gave a high priority in the lean spending plan to the main public school funding program known as SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky), saying its funding will not be cut.

"The real budget focus this year is getting our financial house in order," Bevin told a joint meeting of the Kentucky House and Senate in an hourlong State of the Commonwealth and budget address.

The key step in doing that, he said, is by fully funding the hundreds of millions of dollars more that he said are needed by state retirement systems, which are $43 billion in debt. 

Bevin's budget does not anticipate tax reform, but the governor said that issue remains a priority. He said if tax reform cannot pass in the current regular session, he will push that a special session later in the year.

In his speech, Bevin did not identify any of the 70 programs to be eliminated. He said they were "scattered throughout state government." A briefing released by his administration during the speech said the budget closes the state's film incentive program to new applicants.

He said the eliminations result in massive savings that minimized cuts to other parts of state government, where cuts much deeper than 6.25 percent were feared.

Bevin emphasized during his speech a handful of areas that he said were in dire need and would get increases. Those areas are:

— Foster care and adoption services, which would get $10.8 million in additional funding.

— Efforts to fight the opioid abuse crisis would see $34 million over two years.

— Public safety would be enhanced with money to hire 75 prosecutors and 51 public defenders and to buy new vehicles and weapons for state police. 

— Social workers: The state agency caring for Kentucky's "most vulnerable citizens" will get an increase of $24 million to raise salaries of social workers and hire more of them. In some cases, workers could get 10 percent to 20 percent raises.

The governor also said the budget of the tiny Executive Branch Ethics Commission will be increased, and he said his budget will call for a $100 million workforce development bond issue — money that will be matched by other public sector partners — or private sector partners, to build facilities to train workers.

While he said the budget will not cut SEEK funding, as many education advocates have feared, the governor did not talk about how his budget treats many other important areas of the K-12 budget.

He emphasized that his budget will force cuts on administrative costs at the local level, drawing on what he said are about $950 million in reserve funds held by local school districts. And he blasted Jefferson County Public Schools for having more than 600 administrators making $100,000 per year or more.

This money will allow the state to reduce what it spends on student transportation and employee health insurance, he said.

And Bevin said that his budget will not cut scholarships funded by the Kentucky Lottery.

The main part of the state budget is how it proposes to spend about $22.3 billion in state General Fund tax revenues between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2020. It now goes to the House budget committee, which will review it for several weeks, and make changes, and send it to the House floor for passage. The budget must then go through the same process in the Senate. If history is any indication, it will be very late in the session before the budget is passed. The session is scheduled to end April 13.

And the key difference in this budget from others is that it apparently adds hundreds of millions to what the state spends per year on pensions.

Bevin is apparently fully funding what actuaries say is needed by the state plans over the next two years under a new funding approach that requires massive new outlays in the next few years.

Bevin Budget Director John Chilton has said this move will cost about $700 million more in state General Fund dollars per year if fully funded starting next year.

In addition to the huge boost for pension funding, Bevin said his budget restores a balance of $250 million to the state’s “Rainy Day” reserve fund — a move that credit rating agencies say is important for the state’s financial stability.

By Tom Loftus
Courier Journal

 Here is the list of 70 programs on Bevin's hit list:

Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed two-year state budget would provide no state funding of any kind for these 70 programs. In addition, Bevin has proposed 6.25 percent spending cuts for most state agencies.


(1) County Fair Grants within the Department of Agriculture

(2) Farmer’s Market Senior Program within the Department of Agriculture

(3) ARC of Kentucky

(4) Kentucky Lung Cancer Education Awareness Detection Survivorship Collaborative

(5) Norton Kosair Children’s Hospital Poison Control Center

(6) Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program

(7) Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program

(8) Madison County Early Intervention Services

(9) Lung Cancer Research within the Council on Postsecondary Education

(10) Washington D.C. Internships within the Council on Postsecondary Education

(11) Professional Education Preparation within the Council on Postsecondary Education

(12) Minority Student College Preparation within the Council on Postsecondary Education

(13) Autism Training Center within the Council on Postsecondary Education

(14) Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars within the Council on Postsecondary Education

(15) Community Operations Board at Eastern Kentucky University

(16) Adult Agriculture at the Kentucky Community and Technical College 10 System

(17) Kentucky Coal Academy at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System

(18) Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University

(19) Kentucky Center for Mathematics at Northern Kentucky University

(20) University Press at the University of Kentucky

(21) Kentucky Transportation Center at the University of Kentucky

(22) Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Kentucky

(23) Hospital Direct Support at the University of Kentucky

(24) Agriculture Public Service at the University of Kentucky

(25) Kentucky Mesonet at Western Kentucky University

(26) Trover Clinic

(27) Mining Engineering Scholarships at the University of Kentucky

(28) Robinson Scholars at the University of Kentucky

(29) Family Medical Residency in Owensboro

(30) State Planning Fund in the Office of State Budget Director

(31) Area Development Fund in the Department for Local Government

(32) Conservation Districts Local Aid

(33) State Tree Nurseries

(34) Environmental Education Council

(35) Libraries – Direct Local Aid Non-Construction State Aid (excluding debt service)

(36) Kentucky Teacher Internships within the Educational Professional Standards Board

(37) County Costs – Sheriff’s Expense Allowance

(38) Commission on Women

(39) Kentucky Legal Education Opportunity Fund

(40) Access to Justice

(41) Life Safety or Closed Jails

(42) Local Jailers Allowance

(43) Instructional Resources (Textbooks) within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(44) Professional Development Program within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(45) Appalachian Learning Disabled Tutoring Program within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(46) Commonwealth School Improvement Fund within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(47) Community Education Program within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(48) Collaborative Center for Literacy Development within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(49) Go Higher within Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority

(50) Work Study scholarships within the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority

(51) Teacher Scholarships within the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority

(52) Early Childhood Development scholarships within the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority

(53) Whitehaven Welcome Center

(54) Bluegrass State Games

(55) Frankfort-based cafeterias within the Department of Parks

(56) Insurance subsidy program within the Personnel Cabinet

(57) School Technology in Coal Counties

(58) Coal County College Completion Scholarship Program

(59) Arts Council Marketing Program

(60) Georgia Chafee Teenage Parent Program within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(61) Leadership and Mentor Fund within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(62) Middle School Academic Center within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(63) Teacher’s Professional Growth Fund within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(64) Teacher Academies Program within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(65) Teacher Recruitment and Retention Program-Educator Quality and Diversity within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(66) Virtual Learning Program within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(67) Writing Program within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(68) Lexington Hearing and Speech Center within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services;

(69) Heuser Hearing and Language Academy within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

(70) Teach for America within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learning and Results Services

Comments  

0 #1 Great! 2018-01-18 20:27
Good job Gov. This is exactly why I voted you in. Cut the BS !
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