Gov. Steve Beshear proposed an austere state budget Tuesday that he conceded is “inadequate for the needs of our people” — cutting funding for most state agencies by 8.4 percent while protecting some priority areas.
The cuts, coming on top of others made during Beshear’s first term, will likely mean delays in services, the loss of federal matching funds, the possible closing of some state offices and perhaps even limited layoffs of state workers.
“We should be making substantial investments in our physical and intellectual infrastructure to bring transformational change to our state. This budget does not allow us to do enough of that,” the governor said in his 39-minute budget address Tuesday night before a joint legislative session in the House chamber.
“Instead, it requires painful cuts that may well force us to retreat on some core services and that risk jeopardizing progress we’ve made over decades in education,” he said.
Base support for public schools is essentially frozen through the next two fiscal years at its current year appropriation — a move Beshear acknowledged will reduce the state’s per-pupil spending for schools because the student population is growing.
State universities would be cut by 6.4 percent next year, and Kentucky State Police and most public safety agencies by 2.2 percent.
So yes America, more austerity on the way for Kentucky. And I voted for Dinosaur Steve because his opponent would have eliminated the state's income tax, and then imposed a flat sales tax on everything in its place, far more damaging in the long run.
Sometimes you have to make the lousy choices, folks. But it's a choice I'd make every time.