While most of state agencies face spending cuts of more than eight-percent, the governor wants to spend more on the Kentucky Horse Park and the State Fair Board in the current year. State Budget Director Mary Lassiter today explained their reasons to the Senate Budget Committee. Lassiter was quizzed by Lebanon Senator Jimmy Higdon, who asked her about the nine-million dollar spending increase.
“Do we have any assurances from them that they’re doing everything they can to make cuts within their agency to balance their budget?,” asked Higdon.
“Yes, we do. We’ve worked with them very closely to gain assurances that this is not a recurring issue,” answered Lassiter.
Officials at the Horse Park and State Fair Board argue the state receives a large return on the funds it invests in those institutions. The events they host often attract tourist dollars and user fees.
State funding for individual school districts over the next two years remains uncertain. Lassiter told members of the Senate Budget Committee total funding for elementary and secondary education should remain constant.
“We’re funding the SEEK formula at the same level, same total general fund amount over the next two years that we’re spending this year, but that results in a lower per pupil guarantee, because we’ve got projected increasing numbers of students,” said Lassiter.
Still, Lassiter says some school districts with growing populations will probably receive less money per student. When asked by northern Kentucky Senator Jack Westwood if education remains the highest priority in the administration, Lassiter replied, ‘yes.’