House passes budget, revenue bills

Rep. Jason Petrie, R-Elkton

The full Kentucky House approved a $22.5 billion biennial budget and the revenue bill that funds it Thursday.

The revenue bill includes a 50-cent hike in the tax on a pack of cigarettes and a 25-cent tax on wholesale opioids.

Representative Walker Thomas says some of that revenue gained from those two tax measures allowed the House to spare school systems from significant transportation budget cuts.

Representative Jason Petrie of Elkton is no fan of raising taxes, but calls the revenue bill a “stop gap” until greater overall tax reform can be addressed—possibly later this year during a special session.

Both Republican lawmakers supported the budget bill, which makes the actuarially required contribution to the pension funds and restores funding to education that was cut in Governor Bevin’s proposed budget.

The budget now heads to the Senate, where it is likely to undergo additional changes before almost certainly heading to a conference committee to iron out a final product to send to the governor’s desk.