Beshear defends his proposed two year budget in one-on-one interview


FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Governor Andy Beshear says he had 50 days to put a 40 billion dollar budget together. He says it’s balanced and would reduce the state’s debt.

It doesn’t have any spending cuts, but it also relies on some revenue that doesn’t exist yet. For example, from sports betting. That’s been a point of criticism from some Republican lawmakers.

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“For almost every piece of new revenue that we offer, there is a bill filed by their Republican colleagues that is currently moving through the legislature,” said Governor Beshear.

A bill that would make sports betting legal isn’t moving as quickly through the legislature as the Governor and others would like. The Governor’s office made a plea on Thursday to pass it.

“Sports betting is critical. Sports betting will create 20 plus million dollars a year,” said Governor Beshear.

The Governor says he’d like to use some of the money from sports betting to buy new textbooks for students across the state.

The proposed budget is a big win for public education including a $2,000 pay raise for every public school teacher.

He says the number one thing he wishes he could’ve funded was all day kindergarten.

Expanding medicaid is another priority. ABC 36 asked the Governor if it was sustainable for the state to pay for that and he says absolutely.

“So many of our costs are driven by a small population suffering from heart disease, diabetes, lung cancer. If we can decrease those rates, if we can get people healthier, absolutely in the long run it will save us money,” said Governor Beshear.

The Governor says his budget can move the state forward and he hopes lawmakers on both sides of the aisle grasp that opportunity.