State House approves budget, now heads to Senate
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The Kentucky House of Representatives has approved a two-year, $63 billion state spending plan pushed through by a Democratic majority over Republican objections.
The budget is mostly made up of federal money and restricted funds, including fines and fees for government services. State lawmakers have little control over those dollars. State tax dollars make up $21.6 billion, and that’s the money state lawmakers can control.
Lawmakers say the biggest need is the massive debt owed by the state’s public pension systems, estimated at more than $30 billion. Republicans, led by Gov. Matt Bevin, wanted to cut state spending by $650 million and put the money in a reserve account for pensions. Instead, Democrats restored many of those cuts and used surplus money from a state employee health insurance fund to fully fund required pension contributions.
Republicans did not vote in protest.