Friday, April 15, 2016

KY's Austerity Budget Not As Bad as Bevin Will Make It

Kentucky governors have a line-item veto.  Top of Bevin's cut list has to be the funding the General Assembly protected for Planned Parenthood. As long as Governor Lying Coward is in office, we're still all fucked.

From the Courier:

House and Senate negotiators finally reached agreement Thursday morning on a 2016-18 state budget that will infuse the state’s troubled pension funds with more than a billion new dollars but slash funding for state universities by 4.5 percent.


The two top legislative leaders gave a few major details of the agreement. They said it:

* Does not cut the many support programs for K-12 education such as preschool, textbooks, safe schools and extended school services. Bevin's proposal would have subjected these programs to 9 percent cuts.

* Does include a modified version of the House's priority "Work Ready" scholarships. To qualify, students would have to take at least 15 credit hours a semester and maintain a grade point average of at least 2.5. The new program is expected to cost about $25 million over the next two years.

* Does include a modified provision for performance-based funding for state universities and community colleges. Stivers and Stumbo gave no details of how much of university funding will be based on performance and when it will start.  Stumbo said, "It's sufficient enough to, I think, ensure that performance-based funding will be something that the universities will have to adhere to."

* Does establish a reserve fund called the "Permanent Fund" that Stivers said will be the depository of certain surplus funds and use them to stabilize the particular state pension funds with the greatest need. The leaders did not say how much money will go to this fund.

* Does include cuts of a bit less than 4.5 percent to funding for state constitutional offices such as attorney general and secretary of state. This is less than the 9 percent cuts sought by Bevin.

* Does not include money to hire more public defenders and social workers that Bevin sought in his budget.

.* Will transfer about 60 percent of coal severance tax revenues back to coal counties. Currently, the coal counties get back half of these revenues. The House proposed that, over time, 100 percent be sent back to the coal counties.

* Allows the Executive Branch Ethics Commission to raise registration fees it charges lobbyists to more than offset the effect of  the budget's cut in the state appropriation to the commission.

* Does not include a provision Bevin wanted to eliminate the requirement to pay prevailing wage on public construction projects.

* Does not include a provision Bevin wanted to cut public funding to Planned Parenthood.

No comments: