News release — Bevin’s first budget plan: ‘Stop digging’

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 For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2015      

Contact: Jim Waters @ (270) 320-4376

Gov. Matt Bevin in his first budget address said it’s time to “stop digging” and showed that the administration is focused on returning the commonwealth to solid financial footing by offering a fiscally austere budget proposal that dedicates $1.1 billion toward shoring up Kentucky’s retirement system without raising taxes or borrowing against future generations’ security.

“We cannot borrow our way out of debt, nor will we try,” Bevin said in a combined State of the Commonwealth and Budget Address to a joint session of the Kentucky General Assembly that included a packed gallery. “I will not sign any budget that encumbers future generations with debt that we refuse to take responsibility for.”

While Bevin’s proposed two-year $21 billion budget protects funding for necessary government services, including per-pupil K-12 school funding and Medicaid, it also calls for “a 4.5% spending reduction in the current fiscal year (FY ’16) and a 9% reduction to baseline spending over the biennium.”

Bevin, a successful CEO in the private sector before entering politics, indicated that cabinet secretaries would make most of the decisions leading to $650 million “across the board” cuts outside the protected areas.

“The governor has fulfilled his constitutional duty to begin the budget process; now it’s up to lawmakers to fulfill their obligation to quit kicking Kentucky’s pension can down the road before it rolls to a stop at the feet of our future generations,” Bluegrass Institute president Jim Waters said following Tuesday night’s address. “The citizens of Kentucky expect no less.”

While the retirement systems’ structural problems must eventually be confronted, the Bluegrass Institute is encouraged by the administration’s attempt to prioritize – and restrain – spending so Frankfort lives within its means while funding essential services.

“Despite the fearmongering we heard before Tuesday’s speech from the big spenders who never saw a tax, bond or expenditure they didn’t absolutely adore, this governor’s budget plan represents a thoughtful and deliberative step forward toward making Kentucky economically competitive while ensuring we as a commonwealth keep our promises to retirees,” Waters said. “Kentucky families have always had to make tough decisions, prioritize spending and live within their means. It’s past time for Frankfort to do the same.”

For interview information, please contact Jim Waters at 270-782-2140 or jwaters@freedomkentucky.com