House Introduces Budget

The House budget proposal filed Friday includes $50 million in each of the next two fiscal years for grants to help local governments maintain roads, allocates $350 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for clean water and wastewater projects, and includes pay raises for state employees, Kentucky State Police (KSP) troopers, and social workers.

Cities will receive $25 million to repair bridges and to pave or rehabilitate existing roads through House Bill 241. The Transportation Cabinet budget divides the total of $50 million equally between the municipal road aid and county road aid programs.

House Appropriation and Revenue Committee Chair Jason Petrie (R-Elkton) filed HB 241 as well as HB 1, the executive branch biennial budget. Governor Beshear will make his budget presentation on Thursday. “Our budget review subcommittees have been meeting since late spring to identify not only our priorities but also the realities our state faces,” Petrie said in a news release. “Ultimately, these bills provide a solid, responsible approach consistent with our state’s needs and obligations and our philosophy that we must carefully consider every allocation we make. I appreciate the work of those who participated and invite further input as these bills start the process and move through both chambers of the legislature.”

The proposed KSP pay raise is $15,000 and includes motor vehicle inspectors. The budget also provides an $8,000 pay increase for telecommunicators and a 6% state employee raise.

House Bill 1 allocates $28.5 million for a training center at the Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT) at Eastern Kentucky University. KLC supports the DOCJT need, which has been the focus of testimony during the interim session. The state would also increase by $4 to $35.34 the per diem amount paid to counties for inmates housed in the county jail.

The measure sets aside $10 million for a population-based grant pool under the Department for Local Government (DLG) that would allow each representative and senator to award grants to local governments, educational units, and quasi-governmental agencies.

HB 1 also includes funding for a pilot program to offer mental health services to rural communities through a mobile crisis service expansion, $20 million for a new health care workforce initiative, and $42 million for anticipated growth in each year for the College Access Program (CAP), Kentucky Tuition Grant Program, and Work Ready Scholarship Program.

House Speaker David Osborne (R-Prospect) called the budget a responsible plan that not only meets today’s needs but leaves Kentucky better prepared for the future. “We are in a strong financial position, but our economy is still in a precarious position. I know there are those calling for us to spend federal dollars as fast as we receive them, but you can’t spend the same dollar twice – we have to get it right the first time.”

The budget also reinstitutes $500,000 for the Area Development Fund each fiscal year, retains Local Government Economic Development Fund (LGEDF) provisions passed in recent years, continues to suspend the requirement to appropriate 30% of the Local Government Economic Assistance (LGEA) funds to non-coal producing counties, and suspends funds going to the coal haul road system.

House Bill 1 would temporarily increase the supplemental pay for police officers and firefighters from $4,000 per year to $4,300. The measure excludes reimbursement for local governments for the additional administrative expenses associated with higher supplements, and KLC is working to include that language. The bill also includes a slight increase in state support of volunteer fire departments from $11,000 to $11,500 each year.

You can access House Bill 1 here.