House clears executive branch, transportation budgets

House claims record investments in education, other needs


FRANKFORT, K, (WTVQ/LRC) — Two budget-related bills cleared the House floor Thursday.

House Bill 1, on the executive branch budget, and House Bill 241, on the transportation budget, will now go before the Senate for consideration. The bills appropriate more than $110 billion.

This is the first time since 2018 that the Kentucky General Assembly is working to pass a biennium budget. Economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic led the legislature to pass two single-year budgets in 2020 and 2021.

Rep. Jason Petrie, R-Elkton, said he and the other sponsors of HB 1 and HB 241 believe the measures appropriately address Kentucky’s needs and make good use of taxpayer money.

“There is not one penny of taxpayer money that has come into the purview of the General Assembly that the General Assembly has any ownership of,” Petrie said. “We are being lent that money in trust by the taxpayers of Kentucky to render needed services that benefit them.”

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee approved both bills earlier in the day on Thursday. In committee and on the House floor, Committee Chair Petrie, and Vice Chair Brandon Reed, R-Hodgenville, were joined by the chairs of the House budget review subcommittees in testifying on the proposed executive branch and transportation budgets.

Reed informed the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee that it has taken eight months of working with various agencies, stakeholders and citizens to draft the two proposals.

“This process makes the budget more transparent to the General Assembly and to the citizens of Kentucky,” Reed said.

The proposed executive branch budget is expansive. The proposed appropriations include investments in education, public safety, tourism, infrastructure and more.

Sponsors of the bill were excited to share that HB 1:

  • Fully funds full-day Kindergarten for every public school district
  • Increases SEEK funding for every student
  • Meets the actuarial requirements regarding the Kentucky Retirement System, the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System and the Kentucky State Police Retirement System
  • Gives a 6% pay raise to all state employees
  • Gives a $15,000 salary increase to all Kentucky State Police officers
  • Allocates $350 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds toward clean water projects
  • Funds raises for social workers and provides funding for additional social worker positions
  • Provides funding for facility repairs and improvements at public colleges and universities
  • Ensures funding for Medicaid growth
  • Appropriates $14.1 million to expand the senior meals program, and more

HB 1 cleared the House floor by an 85-8 vote.

In the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, Petrie said the executive branch and transportation budgets work together in a way the Commonwealth has not seen before.

On the transportation budget, Petrie said: “There have been extra measures taken to utilize general funds in selective, surgical ways—hopefully smart ways— to maximize every bit of the road fund money that comes in through that source.”

On the House floor, Rep. Sal Santoro, R-Union, said the transportation budget provides $100 million for local governments for repaving roads and fixing potholes, $200 million to match federal infrastructure grants and more. Santoro is the chair of the House Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation.

HB 241 cleared the House floor by a 90-4 vote.

During debate in committee and on the House floor, several lawmakers commented on how they would like to see the executive branch budget include raises for teachers. Petrie said since each school district has its own needs, he believes raises should be decided on the local level and that the the budget frees up money for local districts to use toward raises if they choose.

House Minority Whip Angie Hatton, D-Whitesburg, said she is afraid there could be “winners and losers” if the General Assembly does not appropriate raises for teachers.

“I have wonderful superintendents in my district who will do their very best to give their teachers raises, but I’m worried that the way that money gets stretched that their teachers are not going to see that,” Hatton added. “And I’m really disappointed to see that in this measure.”

Thursday’s House votes on the executive and transportation budgets are merely procedural so lawmakers can work on the bills in conference committee. Petrie said it is likely that these bills will undergo changes before the General Assembly considers them again later on in the legislative session.


FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/LRC) – In an extraordinary move aimed at providing lawmakers with ample time to consider tax modernization, members of the House voted 85-8 Thursday to approve a budget proposal that includes record funding for education, a continued commitment to the state’s budget reserve trust fund, and pay increases for the Kentucky State Police, state employees, social workers, and educators, the House Republican leadership said.

“This is a responsible spending plan that funds our state’s priorities over the next two years. HB 1 invests more than a $100 billion – including general fund, restricted, and federal dollars – over the next two fiscal years. By voting for this measure, members have endorsed a plan that budgets to our state’s needs rather than politically-driven wants, and delivers public funds directly to where they will have the biggest impact,” said Rep. Jason Petrie, Chair of the House Appropriations and Revenue.

Petrie pointed to the amount allocated to Kentucky classrooms, including $5.3 billion in General Fund dollars in the first fiscal year and another $5.4 billion in the second.

“Our goal is to provide additional funding so that local school boards can use their discretion to provide their employees raises. Just as we provided raises to all state employees because the Commonwealth of Kentucky is their employer,” Petrie added.

HB 1 also includes $350 million in American Rescue Plan funding to local governments in order to continue upgrading aging and inadequate water infrastructure.

This builds on the $250 million allocated by the legislature towards water infrastructure in the current budget. Petrie is also quick to point out that the House budget continues the House Majority’s commitment to the state employee and teacher’s retirement systems by providing more than $2.2 billion.

This is considerably more than is required by statute, but meets the actuarially required contribution rate.

State Rep. Brandon Reed, who serves as Vice Chair of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, is the primary cosponsor of HB 1.

“If you want to know what someone’s priorities are, you look at their checkbook. HB 1 is our state’s checkbook, and it speaks clearly about how seriously we take our role in investing taxpayer money,” Reed said. “This plan meets our state’s needs, but it also leaves an opportunity for us to return money to taxpayers in the form of a tax modernization package.”

Highlights from the proposed spending plans include:

K-12 Education Funding

“Not only does HB 1 HCS include record funding delivered in a strategic and sustainable way, but we are also getting resources on the ground, into the classroom, and as close to the student as possible” said Rep. Steve Riley, Chair of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education.

  • Increases the Base SEEK guarantee to a record high dollar amount of $4,100 in the first fiscal year and $4,200 in the second fiscal year. Every dollar SEEK is increased translates into an additional investment of $800,000 in public school districts.
  • Permanently funds the second half of full-day kindergarten in both fiscal years
  • Increases transportation funding from approximately 51% to a minimum of 70%, with some districts at 100%
  • Increases funding to eligible Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSCS) from approximately $184 to $220, totaling $12 million additional in each year
  • Fully funds Kentucky Teachers Retirement System at the actuarially required contribution rather than that required by law. The statutorily required contribution would be $438 million, this plan allocates an estimated $1.067 billion in the first year and $1.084 billion in the second year. ($629 million in the first year and $646 million in the second year more than the statutorily-required rate)
  • Allocates $479 million to stop the longstanding practice of funding the cost of past teacher cost of living adjustments and sick leave payouts by a loan from KTRS. The state pays a 7.5% rate of interest on this loan
  • Fully funds the state portion of health insurance for retired teachers under the age of 65
  • Fully funds vocational education transportation at an additional $5.4 million
  • Provides certified speech pathologists and audiologists the same pay subsidy as certified teachers
  • Provides an additional $30 million each year from the General Fund to raise the level of funding to LAVECs and fund all school districts that operate a program with five or more career and technical program areas.
  • Provides an additional $155 million for LAVEC revitalization and renovation projects that did not receive funding from the grant program last year.
  • Adds Ludlow High School, the oldest high school in the state, to the list of critical need schools to be renovated or replaced.

Postsecondary Education

“With this budget, we renew our emphasis on higher education and our goal of educating a workforce,” Postsecondary Education Budget Review Subcommittee Chair James A. Tipton said.

  • Provides $50 million additional in each year to the performance based funding model available to the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, and Kentucky Community and Technical Colleges.
  • Funds a new health care workforce initiative at $20 million in each year of the budget
  • Fully funds the subsidy necessary to pay portion of retirement benefits owed under HB 8/2021RS
  • Provides a total of $350 million in each year of the budget to create asset preservation funds at each public postsecondary institution and KCTCS to maintain buildings and facilities. Funds will be available to these institutions based on the square footage of facilities model established in the performance-based model.
  • Fully funds a Workforce Participation Trust Fund at every KCTCS institution
  • Funds endowment matches at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville at $15 million in each year to incentivize research (Bucks for Brains)
  • Provides an additional $42 million in each year for anticipated growth in each year for the College Access Program (CAP), Kentucky Tuition Grant Program, and Work Ready Scholarship Program
  • Funds the number one priority project at each public university and KCTCS school.
  • Adds $6 million in General Fund dollars to fully fund the operations budget of the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and $2.8 million in General Fund dollars for building repairs.
  • Provides bond funding for a replacement facility for Model Laboratory School at Eastern Kentucky University.

Health and Family Services

“Health and Family. These are two very important things to Kentuckians and this budget reflects that. Our efforts are aimed at turning the tide on the state’s legacy of poor health and child welfare,” said Rep. Danny Bentley, Chair of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Health and Family Services.

  • Provides necessary funding to implement the Public Health Transformation Act (HB 129/2020) to ensure public health departments are financially able to continue serving communities
  • Allocates $2.5 million to Area Health Educational Centers
  • Raises the salary and institutes a retention payment for social workers totaling approximately, this is a $25.6 million increase in the first year and a $61.7 million increase in the second year
  • Funds 100 additional social worker positions in each year of the budget for a total of 200 and provides a method of tracking the implementation of increased staffing
  • Raises the reimbursement rate of 1915c (Michelle P, Home and Community Based Services) waiver services by 10% in each year of the budget and clarifies that the increase will be in addition to the current rate.
  • Fully funds the increase in the nursing home reimbursement rate
  • Provides for a pilot program to offer mental health services to rural communities through a mobile crisis service expansion
  • Ensures funding for Medicaid growth and a reduction in the federal reimbursement, totaling approximately $1.024 billion in FY 23-24
  • Provides $7.2 million in additional General Fund dollars in the first fiscal year and $14.4 million in General Fund dollars in the second fiscal year to expand the Senior Meals program.


“We have resisted once and for all the temptation to defund our law enforcement and instead increased our investment in public safety,” Budget Review Subcommittee on Justice and Public Safety Chair Joseph Fischer said.

  • Provides a $15,000 pay increase to Kentucky State Police (KSP) Troopers and Motor Vehicle Inspectors
  • Provides an $8,000 pay increase to telecommunicators
  • Provides more than a $1 million in increased funding to the Office of the Medical Examiner
  • Allocates funding for a pay increase for forensic lab personnel and replacement equipment
  • Provides funding for additional personnel in the Office of the Attorney General, Commonwealth, and County Attorneys offices
  • Allocates $215 million to the KSP retirement fund to reduce the employer contribution rate from 141% per employee to 100%
  • Funds the purchase of integrated body camera systems for the KSP
  • Provides for the third phase of a radio purchase for KSP
  • Allocates $28.5 million for a training center at the Department of Criminal Justice Training at Eastern Kentucky University
  • Increases the county jail per diem by $4 to $35.34

General Government

“Every dollar we talk about belongs to the taxpayer. We must spend it wisely to meet the basic and fundamental obligations of state government. This budget does that by delivering clean drinking water to more Kentuckians, offering competitive salaries to employees, and paying as we go for smaller capital projects.” Budget Review Subcommittee on General Government Chair John Blanton said.

  • Provides a 6% raise for public employees in the FY 22-23 and requires the Secretary of Personnel to develop a plan to revise the classification and compensation for funding in the second year
  • Allocates $350 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding towards clean water and wastewater projects to be allocated to each county by population
  • Returns the unemployment insurance fund to pre-pandemic levels by allocating $312 million in ARPA funds
  • Eliminates the practice of bonding to pay for maintenance and repair projects through agency maintenance pools
  • Provides cash, not bonds, for capital projects that are less than $3 million
  • Allocates a total of $10 million towards a population-based grant pool under the Department of Local Government that would allow each Representative and Senator to award grants to local governments, educational units, and quasi-governmental agencies
  • Funds the operation of the Bowling Green Veterans Nursing Home in the second year
  • Provides $500,000 in each year of the budget for the Raising Hope Initiative, a farmer suicide prevention program that will be moved to the Department of Agriculture

Economic Development, Tourism, and Parks

“Growing our economy today is how we will afford the progress we want for tomorrow. That means identifying economic development opportunities and investing in our tourist destinations,” Rep. Lynn Bechler, Chair of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Protection, Tourism and Energy.

  • Provides additional funding for Bluegrass State Skills Program
  • Allocates $100 million in each year for a Rural Product Development Initiative for business site development
  • Funds 27 renovation and refurbishment projects at Kentucky State Parks, totaling $56.6 million in the first fiscal year and $67 million in the second year.


“We again meet and exceed our commitment to public retirees. Keep in mind, without the pension and benefits, we don’t have teachers and we don’t have students being educated. We also don’t have state employees providing the services Kentuckians depend on.” Myron Dossett, Chair of the Subcommittee on Personnel, Public Retirement, and Finance said.

  • Fully funds the actuarially required contribution for the Kentucky Retirement System at $1.2 billion per year
  • Fully funds Kentucky Teachers Retirement System at the actuarially required contribution rather than that required by law. The statutorily required contribution would be $438 million, this plan allocates an estimated $1.067 billion in the first year and $1.084 billion in the second year. ($629 million in the first year and $646 million in the second year more than the statutorily-required rate)
  • Provides $215 million to the Kentucky State Police Retirement Fund to reduce the employer contribution rate from 141% to 100%
  • Funds the HB 8 subsidy for regional postsecondary institutions at $2.2 million to ensure universities to pay their actual share of pension debt

Legislators also approved HB 241, a transportation budget that, according to Budget Review Subcommittee Chair Sal Santoro, “…is the beginning of the end of underfunding our state’s transportation needs.”

HB 241 meets the state’s transportation and infrastructure needs with allocations that:

  • Provide an operating budget of $200 million in General Fund, $200 million in restricted funds, and $1.6 billion in road funds each fiscal year.
  • Provide $200 million for the required state match for the federal infrastructure package
  • Include $50 million in each year for a special grant to help local governments with road maintenance
  • Provide $10 million in each year for a grant pool available to the state’s 52 general aviation airports
  • Replace over $180 million in allocations formerly charged to the road fund with general fund dollars and moves that amount to the Maintenance Account

House Speaker David Osborne applauded the work done under Petrie and Reed’s leadership, “This budget, crafted under the leadership of Chairman Petrie, Vice Chair Reed, and our Appropriations and Revenue subcommittee chairs, is a responsible spending plan that not only meets today’s needs but leaves us far better prepared for the future. I know there are those calling for us to spend federal dollars as fast as we receive them, but you can’t spend the same dollar twice – we have to get it right the first time.”

HB 1 HCS now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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