KY budget plan offers pay raises, increased education spending

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Posted at 12:33 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 16:07:02-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s legislative leaders on Tuesday revealed a state spending plan calling for big pay raises for state employees, renovations to state parks and increased spending on education.

Top House and Senate lawmakers hammered out the two-year spending plan after long negotiations, setting the stage for final votes by Wednesday to send the budget measure to Gov. Andy Beshear.

“It is certainly the best budget that I will have voted for since being in the legislature,” Republican House Speaker David Osborne said.

Under the plan, state employees would receive a pay raise of at least 8% in the first year of the biennium. The measure sets aside enough money for a 12% salary boost in the second year, though specific raises for the state’s workforce would be based on a Personnel Cabinet study.

The budget negotiators agreed to increase per-pupil funding under SEEK, the state’s main funding formula for K-12 schools. The amount would go to $4,100 in the first fiscal year and $4,200 in the second year. The current amount is $4,000.

The measure also calls for the state to cover the cost of full-day kindergarten.

The plan would allocate $150 million in the second year of the budget cycle for a statewide overhaul of the state parks system.

“One of our greatest and best assets is the natural beauty of this state,” Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said. “And we made some serious investments to bring people back to this state from a perspective of tourism and enjoying our state. And I think that will go a long way of maintaining and growing our economy.”