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SPOTLIGHT

Governor Beshear presents budget, includes significant funding for counties

Gov. Andy Beshear released his 2022-2024 budget tonight, Jan. 13.

 

Click here to access the full 2022-2024 Executive Budget Recommendation.


The Governor's budget includes significant funding increases for counties and county programs, including investments in a water and wastewater grant program and broadband expansion.

In addition, Gov. Andy Beshear's budget proposes to return 100 percent of state coal severance tax revenues back to coal-producing counties, increases pay for Court Security Officers, invests in County Attorney, PVA, Commonwealth’s Attorney and County Clerk offices and increases the stipend that local and state law enforcement officers and local firefighters receive from the Kentucky Law Enforcement and Firefighters Foundation Program.

County impact highlights

Better Kentucky Cleaner Water Program

Includes nearly $500 million over the biennium for the Better Kentucky Cleaner Water program that finances drinking water and wastewater projects, $250 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act State Fiscal Recovery Fund and $247.7 million from the new federal Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act. These funds will be matched with $11.3 million from the General Fund for drinking water and wastewater low-interest loan projects. The Infrastructure bill provides $159.3 million more than the baseline federal program over the biennium.

Broadband expansion

The budget includes new staffing within the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority to create an Office for Broadband. Kentucky is one of the few states without an Office to provide strategic direction, coordination, and planning for deployment of the significant federal funds flowing to states for the last mile of broadband access.

Broadband funding in the amount of $200 million is provided in the Governor’s budget. It is comprised of $100 million from the federal Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act and another $100 million comprised of $55,769,300 from the American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund and $44,230,700 from the General Fund. These funds go to the Broadband Deployment Fund which assists private sector entities and government agencies in the cost of constructing the last mile of broadband access to unserved and underserved households and businesses across Kentucky. These funds will supplement the $300 million of the State Fiscal Recovery Fund portion of the American Rescue Plan Act that was appropriated in the 2021 Regular Session of the General Assembly, as modified by proposed action of the 2022 Regular Session.

Coal severance tax revenues

The Governor’s budget proposes to return 100 percent of state coal severance tax revenues back to coal-producing counties. Based on revenue estimates, a total of $74.5 million in fiscal year 2023 and $77.2 million in fiscal year 2024, substantial increases from the fiscal 2022 budget, which appropriated $26.4 million.

Improved compensation for law enforcement and firefighters

Local and state law enforcement officers and local firefighters will receive a $600 stipend increase from the Kentucky Law Enforcement and Firefighters Foundation Program funds, bringing the stipend up to $4,600. More than 8,000 law enforcement officers and more than 3,800 firefighters will receive this increase.

Court Security Officers

Includes $1.4 million each year for an increase in the hourly pay to sheriff offices for providing security at courthouses.

Commonwealth’s Attorneys

Provides more than $13 million each year for 139 additional positions to provide enhanced victim services including the implementation of Marsy’s law and to address case backlogs and additional workload due to recent legislative changes. It also funds the conversion of the final four part-time offices to full-time.

County Attorneys

Provides more than $15 million each year for 165 additional positions to provide enhanced victim services including the implementation of Marsy’s law and to address case backlogs and additional workload due to recent legislative changes. The budget also adds $7,000 in operating expenses to each of the 120 County Attorney offices to supplement the $3,000 per office currently provided for criminal justice related operating expenses.

County Clerks

Includes $25 million from the General Fund, for grants to County Clerks that will enable them to transition their processing of recorded instruments to electronic forms and processes. Another $25 million is included for grants to County Clerks to acquire replacement election equipment.

An additional $1 million Restricted Fund appropriation is added each year to support County Clerk IT Improvements and planning. 

Property Valuation Administrators

Includes more than $2.8 million each year for an additional 45 positions across the 120 PVA offices that have been lost due to past budget cuts. A formula is used to allocate funding for positions in PVA offices across the state. By statute, the minimum number of employees per county is two. There are 24 counties with only two employees.

Area Development Districts – additional funding to match federal grant

The Governor’s budget includes additional funding of $250,000 from the General Fund in each fiscal year for affected Area Development Districts to match the increase in the Appalachian Regional Commission grants.

Preparing for natural disasters

The Governor’s budget includes a new financial structure to address the costs that Kentucky state government incurs in responding and recovering from natural disasters. Governor Beshear proposes a Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund to be managed by the Emergency Management function of the Department for Military Affairs and provides $100 million as initial seed funding. This fund will also include a no-and-low interest revolving loan program for local governments when fiscal liquidity is strained by their response to a natural disaster as they await federal funding through FEMA or insurance claim proceeds.

Local health department transformation

Substantial funding of $17.7 million in fiscal year 2023 and $19.1 million in fiscal year 2024 is recommended to fund the intent of Public Health Transformation legislation that was enacted in 2020. These funds will be allocated to the 60 local health departments to add support for their workforce and operations in delivering foundational programs and services to Kentuckians in all areas of the state.

Additional budget details

Transportation – roads and bridges

The Governor’s Budget includes an investment of $250 million from the General Fund for major transportation infrastructure projects. The intention of these one-time funds is to lock in an ability for Kentucky to meet an expected state share of potential federal competitive grants for major transportation infrastructure projects in combination with other resources.

Governor’s 2022-2024 biennial highway construction plan

The 2022-2024 biennial highway construction plan is based on $8.5 billion in anticipated state and federal highway program revenues. Much of this funding is committed to continuing the development and construction of projects carried forward from the 2020 Highway Plan.

Highlighted in the plan is a recommendation of almost $600 million annually for investment in Kentucky’s existing pavements and bridges. This plan also charts a toll-free pathway for funding the I-71/I-75 Brent Spence Bridge project in Northern Kentucky, provides funding for continuing the development of the I-69 Ohio River crossing, and begins the roadway widening work necessary to extend the four-lane Mountain Parkway along KY 114 from Salyersville to Prestonsburg.

Electric vehicle charging stations

The new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes an estimated $69.5 million for Kentucky to install electric vehicle charging stations. Gov. Beshear adds $30.5 million from the General Fund, for a total investment of $100 million. The state funds are necessary to meet the 20 percent state match and to provide funding for the purchase of electric vehicles for the state government fleet.

General aviation airports and Paducah Airport Terminal project

Gov. Beshear recommends investing $50 million in Kentucky’s general aviation airports for the development, rehabilitation, and maintenance of public use aviation facilities, from the state’s General Fund. An additional $6 million is provided to support the construction of the new Airport terminal building at the Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah.

Public education

The Governor’s budget adds nearly $2 billion over the biennium to the current education budget, providing $915 million in fiscal year 2023 and $983 million in fiscal year 2024 more than the current budget amounts.

Universal preschool for all 4 year olds and full-day kindergarten

The Governor’s budget includes $172 million each year to fund universal preschool for all 4-year-old children, and continues the funding for full-day kindergarten. Combined with the $140 million provided in the last budget for full-day kindergarten, Kentucky has now provided school districts with the state resources to fully implement a Preschool to grade 12 system. The Department of Education estimates that more than 34,000 4-year-old children are not enrolled in public preschool or Head Start.

Kentucky State Police – salary increase for troopers and telecommunicators

The Governor’s budget supports an immediate pay increase of $15,000 for troopers with a 10 percent difference between ranks by years of service on the salary schedule. This will assist in both recruitment and retention efforts by targeting the starting pay at $55,888, to be among the top five in Kentucky with an annual inflator to salary schedule. The Governor’s budget includes additional General Fund in the amount of $3,106,400 in fiscal year 2022, $34,942,800 in fiscal year 2023 and $41,480,900 in fiscal year 2024.

Salary increases for state employees

For the first time in more than 20 years, state employees will receive a 5 percent salary increase, effective May 1, 2022. This increase applies to all state employees who were not a part of the other salary increases provided in November or December 2021, or January 2022, to social service and family support workers, correctional institution security staff, juvenile facility youth workers, unemployment insurance program employees, and state police troopers and a few other state police personnel.

Kentucky Association of Counties
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