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Higher State Revenues, Deeper Budget Cuts Predicted
State revenues exceed expectations but budget officials say they won’t be enough to satisfy the need. State Budget Director Jane Driskell offered a financial report Monday in Lexington during the annual Kentucky Chamber Legislative Preview. By the end of June, state income will likely run 130-million over budget. But Driskell says the amount needed to cover the growing costs in areas like Medicaid, teacher retirements, and education is much higher than the available monies.
“We haven’t even gotten to all the additional budget requests from the agencies. All those important things, all that important work those agencies are doing. If you just add these up, it’s well over 400 million dollars. Don’t forget, we’ve got 130 million to spend,” said Driskell. So, another round of state budget reductions appears likely in 20-14. While state revenue is up, Driskell says it’s not enough to meet a variety of needs. “Agencies, legislators, the public all want to know, ‘will there be cuts?’ Cuts are likely. If you just look at that scenario, in order to do additional items, or just cover the critical items, somebody is gonna have to face a reduction,” added Driskell. Driskell says it’s too early to say who will be cut and by how much. Governor Steve Beshear will offer his two-year budget proposal to lawmakers at the end of January.