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Bevin’s Budget Plan Draws Praise, Concerns

Jacob Ryan-WFPL/Kentucky Public Radio

Governor Matt Bevin’s first state budget proposal recommends that that the state cut spending by 9 percent in the next two fiscal years, which could mean reduced programs and layoffs. Bevin wants to make cuts in the current fiscal year to the tune of 4.5 percent. He says individual cabinet secretaries will be in charge of how to trim down expenses.

Democratic Rep. Rocky Adkins, the House Majority Floor Leader, said he is concerned about cuts to higher education. “On the 4.5 percent cut in the current fiscal year, I think it’s a tremendous challenge for higher education and other agencies as we move ahead.”

Bevin says the cuts will help the state put its “financial house in order” and make large contributions to pension systems without borrowing money. The grand total in savings would be $650 million, according to the governor’s office.

Bevin carved out several programs from the cuts including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicaid and SEEK, the public school funding formula.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo was resigned to the idea that the final version of this year’s budget will likely involve steep cuts, leading to layoffs. “It’s his administration, if he feels like those agencies can get along without those monies then we may not argue with them.”

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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