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House budget focuses on state’s needs: education, justice, and infrastructure

By CHAD MCCOY
50th District State Representative

Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 — The Kentucky General Assembly has come a long way in a few short years. For decades, the legislature waited for the Governor to present his spending plan to begin working on a state budget. The Governor’s Office would literally hand them a budget, they would file it, and then they would begin working to identify areas that might be changed. The state House is constitutionally obligated to craft a budget, and I am glad to see us take that obligation seriously – even if it is contrary to precedent.

REP. CHAD MCCOY

I want to use this week’s update to outline the budget we filed as HB 1, but I also want to stress that this is the next step in a process that still involves a great deal of work. While we spent months meeting with community leaders, public and private businesses, and state agencies, we will still hear the Governor’s recommendations and work with the Senate.

However, the current version of HB 1 is a carefully crafted, balanced budget that does just that while meeting our financial obligations and reasonably funding our growing responsibilities. Some critics ask why the legislature is not spending more money since the state is sitting on historic budget surpluses and an unprecedented amount of federal dollars. We are committed to doing what is right for Kentucky and we have to get it right the first time. After all, you can only spend a dollar once and these dollars belong to the hardworking people of this state.

I hope you find a moment to look through our blueprint below:

K-12 EDUCATION FUNDING

  • Increases the Base SEEK guarantee to a record high dollar amount of $4,100 in the first fiscal year and $4,200 in the second fiscal year. Every dollar SEEK is increased translates into an additional investment of $800,000 in public school districts.
  • Doubles state funding for full-day kindergarten in both fiscal years to cover the entire cost
  • Increases transportation funding from approximately 51% to a minimum of 70%, with some districts at 100%
  • Increases funding to eligible Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSCS) from approximately $184 to $220, totaling $12 million additional in each year
  • Fully funds Kentucky Teachers Retirement System at the actuarially required contribution rather than that required by law. The statutorily required contribution would be $438 million, this plan allocates an estimated $1.067 billion in the first year and $1.084 billion in the second year.
  • Pays off all past teacher cost of living adjustments and sick leave payouts to KTRS, totaling $479 million
  • Fully funds the state portion of health insurance for retired teachers under the age of 65
  • Fully funds vocational education transportation at an additional $5.4 million
  • Provides certified speech pathologists and audiologists the same pay subsidy as certified teachers

POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION.

  • Funds a new health care workforce initiative at $20 million in each year of the budget· Fully funds the subsidy necessary to pay portion of retirement benefits owed under HB 8/2021RS
  • Provides a total of $350 million in each year of the budget to create asset preservation funds at each public postsecondary institution and KCTCS to maintain buildings and facilities. Funds will be available to these institutions based on the square footage of facilities model established in the performance-based model.
  • Fully funds a Workforce Participation Trust Fund at every KCTCS institution
  • Funds endowment matches at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville at $15 million in each year to incentivize research (Bucks for Brains)
  • Provides an additional $42 million in each year for anticipated growth in each year for the College Access Program (CAP), Kentucky Tuition Grant Program, and Work Ready Scholarship Program

HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES.

  • Provides necessary funding to implement the Public Health Transformation Act (HB 129/2020) to ensure public health departments are financially able to continue serving communities
  • Allocates $2.5 million to Area Health Educational Centers
  • Raises the salary and institutes a retention payment for social workers totaling approximately, this is a $25.6 million increase in the first year and a $61.7 million increase in the second year
  • Funds 100 additional social worker positions in each year of the budget for a total of 200 and provides a method of tracking the implementation of increased staffing
  • Raises the reimbursement rate of 1915c (Michelle P, Home and Community Based Services) waiver services by 10% in each year of the budget
  • Fully funds the increase in the nursing home reimbursement rate
  • Provides for a pilot program to offer mental health services to rural communities through a mobile crisis service expansion
  • Ensures funding for Medicaid growth and a reduction in the federal reimbursement, totaling approximately $1.024 billion in FY 23-24

JUSTICE CABINET.

  • Provides a $15,000 pay increase to Kentucky State Police (KSP) Troopers and Motor Vehicle Inspectors
  • Provides an $8,000 pay increase to telecommunicators
  • Provides more than a $1 million in increased funding to the Office of the Medical Examiner
  • Allocates funding for a pay increase for forensic lab personnel and replacement equipment
  • Provides funding for additional personnel in the Office of the Attorney General, Commonwealth, and County Attorneys offices
  • Provides a 6% raise to deputy circuit court clerks
  • Allocates $215 million to the KSP retirement fund to reduce the employer contribution rate from 141% per employee to 100% Funds the purchase of integrated body camera systems for the KSP
  • Provides for the third phase of a radio purchase for KSP
  • Allocates $28.5 million for a training center at the Department of Criminal Justice Training at Eastern Kentucky University
  • Increases the county jail per diem by $4 to $35.34
  • Provides $38 million from the General Fund to finish the implementation of electronic filing in courts

TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE.

  • Provides $200 million for the required state match for the federal infrastructure package· Includes $50 million in each year for a special grant to help local governments with road maintenance
  • Provides $10 million in each year for a grant pool available to the state’s 52 general aviation airports
  • Replaces over $180 million in allocations formerly charged to the road fund with general fund dollars and moves that amount to the Maintenance Account

GENERAL GOVERNMENT.

  • Provides a 6% raise for public employees in the FY 22-23 and requires the Secretary of Personnel to develop a plan to revise the classification and compensation for funding in the second year
  • Allocates $350 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding towards clean water and wastewater projects to be allocated to each county by population
  • Returns the unemployment insurance fund to pre-pandemic levels by allocating $312 million in ARPA funds
  • Eliminates the practice of bonding to pay for maintenance and repair projects through agency maintenance pools
  • Provides cash, not bonds, for capital projects that are less than $3 million
  • Allocates a total of $10 million towards a population-based grant pool under the Department of Local Government that would allow each Representative and Senator to award grants to local governments, educational units, and quasi-governmental agencies
  • Funds the operation of the Bowling Green Veterans Nursing Home
  • Provides $500,000 in each year of the budget for the Raising Hope Initiative, a farmer suicide prevention program that will be moved to the Department of Agriculture

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • Provides additional funding for Bluegrass State Skills Program
  • Allocates $10 million in each year for a Rural Product Development Initiative for business site development

PENSIONS

  • Fully funds the actuarially required contribution for the Kentucky Retirement System at $1.2 billion per year
  • Fully funds the actuarially required contribution for the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System at an estimated $1.067 billion in the first year and $1.084 billion in the second year. ($629 million in the first year and $646 million more in the second year)
  • Provides $215 million to the Kentucky State Police Retirement Fund to reduce the employer contribution rate from 141% to 100%
  • Funds the HB 8 subsidy for regional postsecondary institutions at $2.2 million to ensure universities to pay their actual share of pension debt

Our Caucus will keep fighting to tackle the needs of our commonwealth so Kentucky can become what we all want: the best state to live and work. For me, this commitment is clear in this budget plan. I hope you will feel free to contact me over the next few weeks. You can reach me by calling 502-564-8100, through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181, or by e-mail chad.mccoy@lrc.ky.gov.

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