Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Kentucky budget remains pinched

Obligations will eat up any revenue increase 

“School funding is in as bad a shape as it’s been for 20 years,”  
---Prichard Committee Exec. Dir. Stu Silberman

This from The Courier Journal:

If state workers, teachers, advocates for health and social programs, and others think the cuts they’ve endured in recent years will be restored in the next state budget, they may need to do some more thinking.

“There’s no money for anything,” said Mary Lassiter, secretary of Gov. Steve Beshear’s cabinet.

“There’s no money for education. There’s no money for textbooks. There’s no money to reverse the child care cuts just announced. There’s no money for any capital projects.”

Though the economic recession is over and state revenues are growing, other obligations — including pension debts and Medicaid — leave any new revenue spoken for, Lassiter said last week, days before she is to address a joint meeting of the House and Senate budget committee at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

She declined to say if the tight long-term revenue outlook will also be the theme of the State of the Commonwealth address Gov. Steve Beshear is to deliver Wednesday night, one day after the 2013 legislative session resumes.

But Beshear has said as much in recent speeches and interviews, while pushing for tax reform.

Lassiter said any reasonable estimate of the amount of new revenue in the 2014-16 budget would be consumed by additional spending required for pensions, Medicaid and replacing one-time funds being spent on recurring needs in the current budget.

“The new revenue growth will be quickly absorbed ... and won’t even come close to being able to address a long, long laundry list of demands and unmet needs that have built up during the past five or six years,” she said.

Tight budgets ahead

Bob Leeper, chairman of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee, said it is too early to speculate on specifics of a budget that will not be considered until next year’s General Assembly.

“But the outlook is what I thought it would be when I presented the budget the last time,” he said. “I think we’ve got at least three or four more years of very tight budgets.” ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So legislators years ago couldn't say "no" when they should have and could have so now the only response is "no choice". Current conditions exist because politicians couldn't make the tough decisions in the past, why should we trust them to do so now? If they didn't care about ensuring that folks who have put in the years are allotted support they contributed to for retirement, why should we think they worry about addressing the other end of the pipe with their grandkids. Starting to wish I had started my career at a private school.