Bevin promises to cut $650M in spending, shore up pension funds - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bevin promises to cut $650M in spending, shore up pension funds

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In an address before a joint session of the General Assembly Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin unveiled a proposed biennial budget that calls for spending cuts, with most savings going toward shoring up public pension funds. In an address before a joint session of the General Assembly Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin unveiled a proposed biennial budget that calls for spending cuts, with most savings going toward shoring up public pension funds.
Gov. Matt Bevin enters the chamber to deliver his first budget address to the joint legislature on Jan. 26, 2016. Gov. Matt Bevin enters the chamber to deliver his first budget address to the joint legislature on Jan. 26, 2016.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- In an address before a joint session of the General Assembly Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin unveiled a proposed biennial budget that calls for spending cuts, with most savings going toward shoring up public pension funds.

There are no tax increases.

Bevin's budget cuts spending by 4.5 percent for the remainder of the current fiscal year and by 9 percent in 2017 and 2018. Bevin says the reductions will reduce baseline spending by approximately $650 million.

In a briefing earlier in the day, Bevin did not name specific areas to be cut, saying he would leave that to the cabinet secretaries.

Bevin said the state has a "legal and moral obligation" to fix the pension problem. Kentucky's two primary pension funds are underfunded by tens of billions of dollars.

"I didn't get elected to ignore this problem," said Bevin.

While the spending plan calls for reductions in many areas, Bevin says a "vast majority" of state funding will not be touched.

Bevin's budget does not cut spending in "critical" areas such as Veterans Affairs; the SEEK formula, which funds local schools; Medicaid; Student Financial Aid; prosecutors' offices and the Heroin Bill.

The budget proposal also protects public safety employees. There is an additional $12.4 million for raises for State Police, and $4.5 million for retention raises for corrections officers.

The plan also calls for increasing salaries for entry level and new hires for social workers and for hiring 44 new public defenders.

There is also $4.5 million to address the backlog of untested rape kits.

The proposal also includes funds to paint Louisville's Second Street Bridge and to build a new interchange off I-65 in Shepherdsville.

But in those areas that are not protected, Bevin says there will be cuts, including public colleges and universities.

The budget proposal must be approved by the General Assembly, and Bevin indicated that he would not sign a final bill that contains major changes.

"We must get our financial house in order," he said.

Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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