FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2016) – Last night, in his first State of the Commonwealth Address, Governor Matt Bevin asked all Kentuckians and members of the General Assembly to stand united in improving the financial condition of the state.
“We have the ability to come together to make this state the best version of itself,” said Gov. Bevin. “We are going to tap into the existing talent and skills of our state workers, and take care of those who protect the Commonwealth. However, we cannot move forward unless we address the crippling debt that is facing this state. We have got to focus on getting our financial house in order.”
In his speech, Governor Bevin presented the Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2017-18 Executive Budget proposal, which calls for an honest analysis of Kentucky’s current financial situation and puts the state on a path to long-term fiscal stability.
Bevin continued, “This budget is a common sense effort to begin dealing with our pension obligations while also investing in critically important areas to better serve all Kentuckians. We have to tighten our belts in order to begin paying down the billions of unfunded liabilities. We must stop putting it on the backs of future generations.”
Kentucky’s two biggest financial challenges are the tens of billions in unfunded pension liabilities and the runaway costs of Medicaid. Modest increases in revenue projections are not keeping up with huge increases in demands upon the Commonwealth’s General Fund. After years of kicking the can down the road, these unfunded liabilities are crowding out necessary investments in education, public safety, and vital social services for Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens.
Without decisive action addressing these issues, critical priorities like protecting the basic funding for schools, fulfilling the commitment to fighting the heroin scourge and substance abuse, and investing in workforce training to meet the demands of Kentucky’s job creators will be sacrificed.
Governor Bevin’s Budget Proposal adequately funds needed state services and will lead to more jobs, better educational opportunities, and better access to quality healthcare for all Kentuckians.
The budget rejects the call for higher taxes on Kentuckians and the idea that the solution to the Commonwealth’s debt problem is to take on billions of dollars in pension obligation bond debt. It fulfills Governor Bevin’s commitment to the taxpayers to be better stewards of the money they send to Frankfort.