A panel of nonpartisan economists reports that Kentucky’s General Fund is expected to grow by just over two and a half percent over the next two fiscal years.
That'll bring in about half a billion dollars. But in next year's budget, half of that will likely go toward pension payments, inflation on medical care costs and paying down nearly $160 million of a structural budget deficit.
Bryan Sunderland of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce says in order for the state to fund priorities like education and teachers’ pensions, hundreds of millions of additional revenue will have to be found.
“If you just assume that the new money’s wiped out, and there’s some high priority asks, we think the high priority requests that the General Assembly will definitely try to be focused on, we think they’ll be looking for $300, $400, $500 million dollars,” he said.
Governor Steve Beshear says he will base his budget proposal on these figures when he submits it to lawmakers next month.
Various proposals to raise revenue through tax reform or expanded gambling have been proposed.