UPDATE: Local Reaction to Gov. Beshear's Budget Address

By: Randy Yohe, The Associated Press Email
By: Randy Yohe, The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 1/18/12 @ 6 p.m.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Deep budget cuts are coming to the Bluegrass State.

Gov. Steve Beshear delivered his new budget Tuesday night. And speaking candidly on Twitter before his address, he said, “It's inadequate for the needs of the people.”

Looking at a few of the highlights, Beshear wants to create a registry of people who have neglected or abused adults.

Outpatient substance abuse programs would be created for adults and teens in the Medicaid program.

And a bill filed will add the University of Pikeville to the state university system.

But money is the main issue. Budget cuts are coming in 2013. Then, all budgets flat-line in 2014. And that's all on top of cabinet cuts of 25 to 30 percent in the past four years.

There are wide-ranging gives and takes in this budget proposal that will affect people who don't even live in Kentucky.

WSAZ.com has a breakdown, turning numbers and percentages into news you can use to deal with everyday life.

At the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department, they are thrilled over more colon cancer screening. They're also excited about Beshear's proposal for the state to match a $1 million private foundation fund -- providing lifesaving colonoscopies for 4,000 uninsured Kentuckians.

Ashland Alliance president and local economic developer Jim Purgerson is a bit dismayed over plans to cut one-fifth of the state's economic development budget and take 15 percent out of tourism.
But Purgerson says he's also a realist, knowing that it’s either increase revenue or cut expenses.

At Boyd County's preschool program, they say the proposal to expand state preschool funding for more than 8,000 children of struggling families will help students advance much more easily.

Beshear says one big answer to the state's revenue problem is allowing Kentuckians to vote on expanded gambling -- possibly even adding a casino in Ashland.

Beshear says Kentucky would take in more than $500 million in the first year of expanded gambling.

Other investment proposals include reducing social worker caseloads, funding an adult abuse registry and a widespread six-year road improvement plan.

On the other hand, many already bare bones cabinet departments may face delays in service, layoffs, and closures, along with loss of federal matching funds.

Now, it's up to the general assembly.

Beshear plans to tackle tax reform with a blue ribbon commission that's already at work



UPDATE 1/17/12 @ 10 p.m.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Gov. Steve Beshear is calling for 8.4 percent cuts to most government agencies, though education and public safety would be largely spared.

To read the full speech given by Gov. Steve Beshear, click here

Beshear presented a $19.5 billion budget proposal to a joint session of the House and Senate on Tuesday evening.

The second-term Democrat said he doesn't plan to impose mandatory unpaid furloughs of state employees, but he didn't rule out layoffs as a means for some agencies to slash their budgets.

The cuts would come in the first year of the two-year budget proposal. Funding would then go unchanged in the second year.

Some agencies have already trimmed their budgets by more than 30 percent over the past four years.

Beshear calls for additional spending to reduce social worker caseloads, expand preschool programs and expand drug treatment and prevention programs.



ORIGINAL STORY 1/16/12
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Gov. Steve Beshear is set to deliver a barebones budget proposal to a joint session of the House and Senate on Tuesday, triggering the start of what could be three months of financial wrangling in the Capitol.

The second-term Democrat has already warned state agencies that they should brace for spending cuts in the upcoming two-year budget.

Initial projections were that the cuts would be in the 7 to 9 percent range.

Budget cuts have been common over the past four years in Kentucky because of the lingering economic recession that is blamed for $1 billion in revenue shortfalls since Beshear initially took office in late 2007. Some agencies already have had to cut their spending 25 to 30 percent.


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