Governor proposals options for revenue crisis; forums planned

This week Governor Steve Beshear released his proposals for dealing with the state's latest revenue crisis: a mix of further cuts to state programs and services, a 70-cent cigarette tax increase, a three-day furlough for state workers, and taking money from the rainy day fund and restricted funds.

Some of what the plan does:

  • cuts funding for higher education by 2%.
  • cuts funding for child protective services.
  • does nothing for the $180 million Medicaid shortfall
  • cuts funding for county attorneys by about $1.1 million
  • cuts funding for commonwealth's attorneys by $1.3 million
  • takes about $40 million from "restricted" funds, including about $17 million from coal severance tax revenue, and diverts the money into the General Fund.
  • takes $179 million from the state's "rainy day fund"
  • mandates that state workers (who only got 1% cost-of-living raises last year, anyway, because of the budget cuts) take a 3-day unpaid furlough, saving the state about $8 million.

You can read more about the governor's plan in this Courier-Journal article, which includes some helpful budget and funding graphs.

 

How you can weigh in

Governor Beshear is holding Town Forums in Ashland, Hazard, and Dry Ridge to gather reactions to the revenue crisis, budget cuts and the cigarette tax increase.  Can you go?  Here are some talking points that KFTC members recommend:

  • Yes, Kentucky needs to raise the cigarette tax to improve the health and well-being of Kentuckians.  Thank you for supporting this increase and leading the way for its passage in this session.
  • The cigarette tax increase alone, however, will not answer Kentucky's need for new and more revenue, nor is it comprehensive tax reform.
  • Please show leadership in real revenue reforms that do more than plug some of the holes, and in tax reforms that make taxes fairer to lower-income families who are already contributing more than their fair share.

Members are planning rides to the events in Hazard and Ashland, so call Jessica Hays if you'd like information about carpooling — 859.533.0613. 

Here is the schedule for the Town Forums:

â–   6 p.m. Monday: Ashland town hall at Ashland Community and Technical College, J.B. Sowards Theatre, 1400 College Drive.

â–   6 p.m. Wednesday: Hazard town hall at the Hal Rogers Center, 101 Bulldog Road.

â–   7 p.m. Dec. 18: Dry Ridge town hall at Grant County High School auditorium, 715 Warsaw Road.

 

 You can read more about the forums in this Herald-Leader article.  Go and voice your support for better health, but also for leadership in truly moving Kentucky forward!

 

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