As he presented his 19-point-five billion dollar budget to the general assembly Tuesday night, Governor Steve Beshear called for an eight-point-four percent budget cut to most state agencies.
"Now remember," said the governor, "these cuts are on top of cumulative cuts of 25 to 30% made over the previous four years. In these agencies folks, the fat has long been burned away, and now we're cutting muscle and we're butting bone."
To help generate new revenue... To combat those cuts... Beshear re-emphasized his desire for a constitutional amendment... Allowing expanded gaming to be put on the November ballot.
"An economic analysis just released," he said, "estimates that in 2010 Kentuckians spent $451 million on casino gaming in our neighboring states. These states are enhancing their budgets with hundreds of millions of dollars they rake in by taxing this Kentucky money. And they know it." Beshear said expanded gaming is just a mechanism to keep Kentucky money in Kentucky.
As he outlined his "bare-bones budget" to the general assembly, Governor Beshear said Medicaid is one of the biggest stresses on it.
But he hopes to lessen that stress by moving to a "managed care" delivery model.
"Folks," he said, "that new model alone will reduce the cost of Medicaid to the general public by $294 million over this biennium, and $372 million over the 32-month contract period."
And for the first time Beshear's proposal provides outpatient substance abuse treatment in the Medicaid program for both adults and adolescents.