Contributor: The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy
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“The Money Is There and So Are the Needs” provides detailed budgetary analysis and describes the historic opportunity to invest in the commonwealth
When the General Assembly returns to Frankfort in January it will take on its most important job: passing a two-year state budget that delivers for the people of Kentucky.
A comprehensive new report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KyPolicy) details the critical opportunity lawmakers have with the 2024-2026 Budget of the Commonwealth. This year, unlike so many in the past, the money is there for lawmakers to begin correcting years of disinvestment and to chart a different course.
In recent years, lawmakers have put an excessive amount of money in reserve and another budget that fails to meet the needs of Kentuckians would grow those reserves even further. But more than enough is already in the fund to protect against future downturns, and the excess can be put to better use.
As the budget report makes clear, Kentuckians need reinvestments in education, health, social services and other critical needs after more than a decade of state budget cuts. Communities still need help recovering from natural disasters. And Kentuckians need the General Assembly to have big ambitions in order to build a better commonwealth.
“The billions of dollars now piling up unnecessarily in the Budget Reserve Trust Fund present a once-a-generation opportunity to make real improvements across the commonwealth,” said Jason Bailey, Executive Director of KyPolicy. “We can prioritize delivering for our communities with available funds and make strides toward a Kentucky where everyone can thrive.”
The 57-page budget report, which can be found at this link, provides an in-depth look at the revenue context for Kentucky’s historic budget opportunity. It also describes the imperative to invest: the impact, by budget area, of past funding decisions, from cuts in K-12 funding to long waiting lists for human services. And the report warns against squandering this opportunity by continuing to sit on the money in order to finance irresponsible and inequitable income tax cuts down the line.
Read the full report here.
Kentucky Center for Economic Policy
433 Chestnut Street, Berea, KY 40403
The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization conducting research, analysis and education on important policy issues facing the Commonwealth. For more information, please visit KyPolicy’s website at www.kypolicy.org.