Gov. Beshear outlines millions in proposals for next year’s budget

Gov. Beshear outlines his infrastructure budget proposal
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 11:20 AM CDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear has more items he wants lawmakers to consider when they craft next year’s budget.

Beshear previously outlined more money for police and teachers. During a Tuesday morning news conference, Governor Andy Beshear outlined a number of proposals to spend money that he says has put Kentucky on very good financial footing.

First up was $500 million for more clean drinking water projects and $1.1 billion in high-speed internet projects. He says the internet plan would be the largest public investment in the state’s history. It was not announced specifically where the projects would be instituted.

The governor calls this his “Better Infrastructure Plan.”

The proposals by the Democratic governor would have to pass muster with the Republican-led legislature. By law, the House draws up, and then it and the Senate approves a budget that the governor signs. That’s typically a weeks and even months-long process that starts in January and ends near the end of the 60-day session in April.

It also comes as there is a closely watched governor’s race between the incumbent Beshear and Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Cameron has had similar news conferences to outline his proposals if elected. Cameron has repeatedly said his ideas will be more strongly considered by the Republican legislature.

Beshear also stated he wants lawmakers to consider $100 million in more career and technical education centers and $10 million in affordable housing. He says that will be the first from the general fund in 20 years. He says there needs to be more road and bridge projects funded both for the state and down to the cities and counties. And he wants “speed to market” sites built in more areas similar to what happened in Glendale, where a large car battery plant is under construction.

All of it comes as the state budget director says preliminary revenue estimates put an additional $1.2 billion in the state’s general fund than what was considered in the last budget cycle.

“That’s part of the resources we are looking at to accommodate what the Governor is announcing today, particularly in these larger one-time investments. It’s an opportunity to use that additional funding to make investments, increase productivity, jobs, and income for Kentucky’s families,” said Kentucky Budget Director John Hicks.

In announcements earlier this year, Governor Beshear said he was proposing additional raises for state troopers, more body armor and additional training stipends for police, as well as an 11% pay raise for teachers, which he says would be the largest in 40 years.