Gov. Matt Bevin called for $650 million in “cuts across the board” in his first state budget proposal to the General Assembly on Tuesday, with the details, including possible state employee layoffs, to be left to his cabinet secretaries.
The best I can say is that it is going in the right direction, but I would have liked to see more--a lot more.
Bevin said his $21 billion, two-year budget would dedicate $1.1 billion to the state’s underfunded pension systems for state workers and school teachers.
He also pledged to protect per-pupil K-12 school funding, Medicaid, social workers, prosecutors, state police and prison correctional officers; hire more public defenders; and fully fund last year’s Senate Bill 192, meant to curb the heroin addiction epidemic, as well as DNA testing of rape kits.
But most of the rest of state government — such as universities, parks, the arts, workplace safety, environmental quality and economic development — would face spending cuts of 4.5 percent this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and then 9 percent over each of the next two fiscal years.
School teachers and state employees other than those in the protected categories should not count on a pay raise in the next two years, Bevin told reporters at a budget briefing Thursday afternoon.
“If any of you truly believe that there is not inefficiency in government, please look closer. There is. Just as there is in any private sector company anywhere. Anything as big as this state government has inefficiencies. The task of the cabinet secretaries is to find it,” he said.
“Will it be easier in some places than others? Yes. Will it result in tough decisions being made? Yes. We are facing a circumstance which requires tough decisions to be made,” he said.
(via Lexington Herald-Leader)