LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed two-year budget would cut most state agencies by 6.25 percent while directing more funds to priorities like underfunded pensions for public employees, fixing the state’s adoption and foster care system, and addressing the opioid epidemic.
Bevin’s budget would leave basic funding for public schools unchanged, but ask local school districts to shoulder more of the burden for things like transportation and administrative overhead.
“Nobody likes the idea of having to make these difficult decisions. There is not enough money,” Bevin said during his annual State of the Commonwealth address to the state legislature.
Bevin said he wants to overhaul the state’s tax code this year, adding that it could happen during the current legislative that wraps up in April or a special session later in the year.
“Tax reform is coming,” he said.
During the same address a year ago, Bevin said the state can’t afford to have a “revenue neutral” tax overhaul, but one that instead brings more money into state government. In Tuesday’s address, he expressed no preference, saying it’s a conversation for later.
Bevin’s budget is a starting point for state lawmakers, who will pass their own spending plan in the next few months.
Bevin’s proposed $3.3 billion for state pensions is the first time in recent history that the state would fully pay the amount experts say is needed to get the systems back on track, the governor said.
Bevin’s budget also includes more funding to hire social workers and increase their pay; as well as funding for 75 additional prosecutors and 51 public defenders.
Bevin took a few swipes at Jefferson County Public Schools, the state’s largest district. He said JCPS has 600 employees earning more than $100,000 a year and has squirreled away “hundreds of millions” in reserve funds – more than the state itself.
“We have far too many people who are not teaching our students, who are sucking up the dollars,” Bevin said.
Jefferson County school board member Chris Brady, a former chairman of the board, tweeted Tuesday night that the district has 556 employees who earn six figures, but 358 are “school based” including principals, vice principals, counselors and nurses.
FYI: As of November, @JCPSKY has 566 employees making $100k+. However, 358 of those employees are school based. They include principles, vice-principals, counselors, nurses, etc...— Brady School Board (@BradyJCPSBOE) January 17, 2018
Brady said the district has about $150 million in reserves, which is recommended for an organization of its size.
@JCPSKY doesn’t have “hundreds” of millions in fund balance. We do have around $150 mil which is just below what is recommend for orgs with a budget and payroll our size have in reserve. This is one reason why we’re not in a dire financial situation like some districts. https://t.co/oehnGu2tN1— Brady School Board (@BradyJCPSBOE) January 17, 2018
JCPS spends over $1 billion a year and has about 100,000 students.
Copyright 2018 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.