The Kentucky Senate approved a biennial budget Tuesday that restores some of the cuts proposed by Governor Bevin, does not raise any taxes and does keep public school systems on par with current transportation funding.
The budget increases per-pupil SEEK funding to school systems over the next two years and maintains current funding for transportation.
It allocates money earmarked for legislative retirement funding and sends it to the under-funded public pension system, and fully funds the required state allocation for the teachers’ retirement fund. While the Senate plan doesn’t contain $59.5 million for retired teachers’ health care, it would use a nearly $1 billion trust fund to pay for the insurance.
The governor’s proposed budget recommended reductions of 6.25 percent in the upcoming biennium in most budget areas. The Senate’s version generally applied the cut to the executive branch except for veterans’ affairs and state police.
The Senate budget includes funding for the Kentucky Mesonet system, for the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in Madisonville and for operation of the Murray State Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville. It removes money allocated by the House for private prisons.
It does not include House-approved taxes on wholesale opioids and a 50 cent tax hike on cigarettes.
The budget how heads back to the House and a conference committee will likely be called upon to iron out a compromise that can be sent to the governor’s desk before the veto recess. Senator Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville voted in favor of the budget bill.
Click Senate Budget Summary for additional information.