2015 state budget

The debate over raising the minimum wage is heating up in Louisville, and Democratic state lawmakers want to take the issue statewide in 2015.

Rep. Rick Rand, who chairs the Kentucky House committee on Appropriations and Revenue, said the time is right for a wage hike in the state.

"We were going to phase it in over three years so it's not going to be an immediate shock to employers. And I strongly believe that those dollars are going to be turned over in the economy,” said Rand, a Democrat from Bedford.

Kentucky Budget Facing $3.6 Billion Spending Gap

Jan 7, 2014
Daderot, Wikimedia Commons

As lawmakers kick off the inaugural day of the 2014 General Assembly, the scope of the state's dire budgetary situation is coming into focus: Legislators will have to find a way to come up with $3.6 billion to fully fund budget requests from state agencies.

LRC Public Information

Kentucky’s budget priorities for 2015 could require nearly $1 billion in revenue that the state doesn’t have. House Speaker Greg Stumbo told a group of business leaders earlier this month that the cost of funding priority issues like education, public employee raises and more could total an estimated $800 million.

 "It would probably be more of a number like seven to eight-hundred million, some would argue larger than that," says Stumbo. "It just depends upon how big a bite of the apple you want to take, but I don't think we can do that."

Stumbo says that it’s unlikely the state will have that money until Kentucky fully recovers from the 2008 recession. But, it’s coming.