FRANKFORT, Ky. (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear briefed the media on the 2022-2024 budget bill.

According to a press release, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that the upcoming fiscal year 2022-2024 state budget passed by the General Assembly makes investments in infrastructure – like high-speed internet, cleaner water, roads and bridges – while making it easier for businesses to move to Kentucky. The press release says that the Governor said the budget also helps make sure every region in Kentucky sees economic prosperity, with significant investments in higher education, career and technical training and workforce development.

“These are the areas we must invest in today to help the commonwealth become a national leader by turning two years of incredible progress into 20 years of prosperity for Kentucky’s families,” Gov. Beshear said. “With these dollars, we are going to make major investments in critical infrastructure needed to build a better Kentucky and create and attract the jobs of the future.”

According to the press release, the following investments are as follows:

  • Water and sewer improvements
    • Support the Better Kentucky Plan’s Cleaner Water Program and provide clean drinking water and new sewer systems to citizens of the Commonwealth.
  • Expanding high-speed Internet
    • Support the expansion of high-speed internet and the creation of the Office for Broadband.
  • Advancing major transportation projects
    • This effects the following projects the most:
      • the Brent Spence companion bridge project
      • I-69 Ohio River crossing in Henderson
      • the completion of the Mountain Parkway expansion project
  • Building a site identification and development program
    • Modernizing Kentucky’s infrastructure
      • $50 million each year to develop megasites and $100 million in fiscal year 2023 for counties to develop.
  • Launching a Life Science Lab
    • The budget invests $15 million in Covington to support the construction and outfitting of a shared research and development lab facility to serve the quickly growing life sciences sector in the region.
  • Supporting career and technical education
    • Renovate 24 Career and Technical Education centers
      • Vocational center operating funds increase more than $58.1 million each year and state operated career and technical centers receive more than $6.8 million.
  • Supporting Higher Education
    • Restore some of the $250 million in budget cuts these institutions have suffered since the Great Recession.
    • Funds the Bucks for Brains program.
      • This aligns postsecondary education with emerging needs of business and industry.
    • Funds the asset preservation fund.
      • This helps with college maintenance costs. “We can’t let our schools crumble,” said Gov. Beshear. “I am proud we are going to be making this type of significant funding investment for the first time in 20 years.”
    •  Funding to support the state’s two Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Improving salaries for state employees
    • An 8% across-the-board raise effective July 1, 2022, for state employees.
      • state social workers, family support workers, state troopers, vehicle enforcement officers and public advocacy workers will get salary increases.
    • Body cameras for Kentucky State Police troopers
    • Funding to hire at least 200 social workers.
  • Expanding the Everybody Counts Program
    • “We have great partners – Ford, UPS, GE Appliances and Kroger. They’re helping us move toward a goal of having every high school senior, before they graduate, hired into a job, enrolled in postsecondary education, or both,” Gov. Beshear said. “With this budget, we will have $10 million to extend this important program.”
  • Protecting children, seniors and families
    • Increase funding to domestic violence centers, rape crisis centers and child advocacy centers.
    • Full funding for senior meals
    • Rate increase for residential and therapeutic foster care providers
    • A $2 per-child, per-day increase in the child care assistance program reimbursement rate.
  • Caring for Kentucky’s veterans
    • Support the Military Family Assistance Trust Fund.
    • Create a permanent memorial honoring Kentucky Medal of Honor recipients at the campus of Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
    • Funds to expand veteran services, including boosting staffing at four Kentucky veteran cemeteries.
    • Phase in operations at the newest state veterans center in Bowling Green.
  • Investing in communities
    • Expand Waterfront Park, connecting downtown and West Louisville along the Ohio River.
    • The Louisville Zoo will receive funding to construct new habitat trails.
    • Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah is also receiving funds to continue improvement projects
      • additional funds will go to support an aviation program with Kentucky Community College and Technical System (KCTCS).

A press release says that the Governor said that while there is a lot to celebrate, the General Assembly failed to make much-needed investments in pre-K, K-12 and Kentucky’s educators. Some of the items that did not get included in Gov. Beshear’s budget are:

  • A record investment in K-12 funding through the SEEK formula – the enacted budget has over $680 million less for SEEK than the Governor’s budget
  • Funding for universal pre-K
  • Funding for a pay raise for teachers and school staff
  • Restoration of past budget cuts to textbooks and professional development
  • Better Kentucky Promise Scholarship program
  • Loan forgiveness programs for teachers and social workers
  • Hero Pay with $400 million from ARPA funds
  • Staffing to restore services at local and regional unemployment insurance offices
  • Agritech research and development facility
  • Funding for the Commission on Women
  • Increase in funding for the Commission on Human Rights
  • Funding to modernize Kentucky’s central public health laboratory facility

The press release says that the General Assembly also did not return all coal severance tax revenues to coal-producing counties, restore local library grants or provide additional support for counties impacted by December’s deadly tornadoes.