OPINION: Coalition of Organizations Launches Public Education Campaign: Kentucky Has the Money for a Budget that Delivers


Opinion Contributor: Jason Bailey, Executive Director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy

Published December 4, 2023 at 10:33 AM EST

With the 2024 General Assembly now less than a month away, the Kentucky Together coalition, which includes education, faith, health care, labor and community organizations, began a public education campaign today with an important message: Kentuckians need a budget that delivers for them, and Frankfort has the resources to make that happen.

“With $3.7 billion already piled up in the state’s so-called ‘rainy day fund’ and more than a billion dollars being added to the fund every year, lawmakers can easily afford a budget in the 2024 legislative session that meets significantly more of Kentuckians’ pressing needs,” said Jason Bailey, Executive Director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, a member of the Kentucky Together coalition.

As part of its campaign for a budget that delivers for the people, Kentucky Together relaunched its website, which now includes a partial list of the many needs Kentuckians face after too many years of inadequate budgets. Among those needs are an increase in core school funding to address the teacher and bus driver shortage and widening school funding inequity, additional money for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to address the housing crisis ranging from our cities to flood-impacted eastern Kentucky, and funding for higher education, mental health, drug treatment and support for people with disabilities.

The website also includes a way for Kentuckians to contact their lawmakers and ask them to prioritize funding for critical needs. A total of $5 billion is expected in the rainy day fund by next summer, an amount that far exceeds what is necessary to protect against the next downturn. And merely passing a continuation budget for the next two years that leaves out pressing needs would result in billions more being added unnecessarily in that fund.

“The recurring money that is piling up in the rainy day fund each year presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make real improvements across the commonwealth,” said Bailey. “We can prioritize delivering for our communities with these available funds and make strides toward a Kentucky where everyone can thrive.”

Learn more at KentuckyTogether.org

To learn more about the balance growing in the rainy day fund, read our recent piece in the Courier Journal.


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