A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bevin asks state agencies for 17 percent budget cuts to cover anticipated $200 million shortfall

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Gov. Matt Bevin on Friday asked most state agencies to cut their budgets by 17 percent in anticipation of the ongoing budget crisis.

John Chilton, Bevin’s budget director, sent a letter to all Constitutional officers, cabinet secretaries and the heads of the legislative and judicial branches on Friday. The cuts are necessary to deal with a $200 million shortfall projected for the current fiscal year by the Consensus Forecasting Groups and to restore $150 million funding to the state’s emergency Rainy Day Fund, which is expected to be depleted during the year.

Gov. Matt Bevin

“We fully expect that a zero balance in the state’s Rainy Day Fund will be viewed negatively by bond rating agencies,” Chilton wrote.

Some parts of state government are exempt from the cuts including the school funding program known as SEEK, universities, Medicaid and the Department of Corrections, according to Amanda Stamper, the communications director in Bevin’s office.

Chilton asked every agency head to send the budget office a draft plan by Sept. 25 to implement the reductions, along with information such as:

· Possible fund source replacement from recurring or non-recurring sources

· Impact on programs and services, including any potential program eliminations

· Impact on federal funds

· Acknowledgement of legal mandates

· Impact on facilities

· Amount of spending reductions
applicable to contracts, including any type of contract, agreement or grant related to goods and services

The letter also includes the target amount they would like to see reduced. Examples include:

Agriculture Commissioner, $2,959,100

Attorney General, $1,916,100

Auditor, $859,300

Secretary of State, $309,800

State Treasurer, $345,500

Commonwealth’s Attorneys, $8,512,900

County Attorneys, $7,405,500

Judiciary, $18,773,800 in court operations and administrations and $20,147,700 in local facility support

General Assembly, $3,424,900 for the General Assembly and $7.602,100 at the Legislative Research Commission

Requests for comments from several agencies have responded with they are currently evaluating the letter.

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  1. ruth bamberger says:

    When will the Governor and the General Assembly have the guts to raise taxes? We have already cut to the bone.

  2. Kyle Reagan says:

    Benefits should not be reduced for those who are already retired and those eligible to retire now or in the near future. The state legislature has not appropriated the necessary money to keep the system for state employees at a safe level. The CERS system for city, county, and special districts is in somewhat better shape and should be separated from KERS. The teachers system should remain separate. Legislation should be passed to require all public employers to contribute enough additional money to bring the fund balance to at least the 90% level in the next 15 years. Employee contributions should not be increased to make up the current shortfall, but, if necessary, should be increased to keep the fund balance from falling farther behind. Politicians should stop playing politics with this issue and provide the funds necessary to fulfill the promises made to employees.

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