Economists’ panel says state will face a budget shortfall of $155 million, less than originally forecast

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky taxpayers are looking at a shortfall of more than $155 million after a panel of state economists revised the state’s official revenue forecast Friday. The panel predicted a smaller deficit because Kentucky collected more tax money than it had expected in the past three months. In August, the Consensus Forecasting Group issued a preliminary estimate predicting...

State General Fund receipts show 4.1 percent increase in September; growth is 2.9 percent for year

State Budget Director John Chilton reported Tuesday that General Fund receipts rose 4.1 percent in September. Total revenues for the month were $1,032.4 million, compared to $991.7 million during September 2016. So far this fiscal year (FY18), the General Fund has grown 2.9 percent. Road Fund receipts for September totaled $125.7 million, an increase of 1.8 percent from September 2016 levels. Chilton...

Bevin’s proposed budget cuts for current fiscal year would be illegal, Beshear says

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Spending cuts being considered by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration would be illegal, his Democratic political nemesis has claimed. Attorney General Andy Beshear told reporters at a Capitol press conference Tuesday that two statutes and a recent Kentucky Supreme Court decision bar Bevin from forcing the state agencies to make the cuts. “One part of his...

General Fund receipts show slight increase in August compared to last year’s figures, Chilton says

State Budget Director John Chilton has reported that General Fund receipts increased 1.0 percent in August compared to last year. Total revenues for the month were $728.3 million, compared to $721.4 million during August 2016. So far this fiscal year (FY18), General Fund receipts have increased 2.0 percent. Chilton noted that even though growth through the first two months of the fiscal year has...

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...

Local governments facing major increases in pension contributions unless Legislature acts, Chilton says

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Local governments in Kentucky would pay 50 to 60 percent more next year to fund pensions for workers, unless the General Assembly acts, according to an email to local officials from State Budget Director John Chilton. Without changes by lawmakers to the state’s wobbly pension system, local governments will have to make payments into the County Employees Retirement System...

Increasing the retirement age, limiting cost of living raises among proposed pension revisions

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Independent consultants are recommending that Kentucky lawmakers take away some of the cost-of-living raises awarded to government retirees over the past two decades as part of a strategy to restore financial solvency to Kentucky’s beleagered pension system. That was one of several recommendations the consultants with PFM Group made to the Public Pension Oversight Board...

Bevin launches new website highlighting public pension issues in advance of special session

The Office of the State Budget Director launched a comprehensive new website aimed at keeping Kentuckians informed, as the Bevin Administration works with state legislators to address the Commonwealth’s public employee pension crisis. Visitors to KentuckyPensions.com can obtain answers to frequently asked questions, view detailed reports and a glossary of key terms, follow the latest developments,...

General Fund receipts for July increase to 3.1 percent, slightly behind revenue estimates

State Budget Director John Chilton said Thursday Kentucky’s General Fund receipts for July, the first month of Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18), totaled $792.8 million, a 3.1 percent increase compared to July 2016 receipts. The official revenue estimate for FY18 calls for revenue to grow 3.8 percent compared to FY17 actual receipts. Based on July’s receipts, General Fund revenues need to increase 3.8 percent...

Budget officials predict bleak outlook for Kentucky’s financial situation as new fiscal year gets underway

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today State budget officials painted a bleak outlook for Kentucky’s financial situation for the fiscal year that began this month. In other words, be prepared to tighten belts. Two weeks ago, because of a $152 million shortfall, Gov. Matt Bevin implemented a 1 percent spending cut across most state agencies and renegotiated contracts with managed care organizations to fill the...

Growth in coal mining revenue one of few bright spots reflected in state’s General Fund budget

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT – Growth in coal mining has produced one of the few bright spots in Kentucky’s General Fund budget in May. State Budget Director John Chilton said coal severance tax collections, which are based on the amount of coal mined, showed a turnaround in May, increasing by 4.1 percent after an 18.2 percent decline over the past 11 months. General Fund revenue rose...

General Fund receipts up 4.8 percent for May; Road Fund shows increase of 16.9 percent

The Office of State Budget Director reported today that May’s General Fund receipts rose 4.8 percent compared to May of last year, an increase of $33.8 million. Total revenues for the month were $739.6 million, compared to $705.8 million during May 2016. Receipts have now grown 1.5 percent for the first eleven months of FY17. The official budget estimate calls for 2.7 percent revenue growth for...

Independent report shows Kentucky pension systems could fail to meet commitments to retirees

The PFM Group presented an alarming report Monday to the Public Pension Oversight Board detailing the factors that made Kentucky’s pension systems the worst funded systems in the United States. The report revealed that the systems have had a combined $6.9 billion negative cash flow since 2005 as benefits paid to retirees plus program expenses greatly exceeded appropriated funding. According to the...

General Fund rebounds in April, growing by 1.7 percent; state’s road fund lagging as revenues down

The Office of State Budget Director (OSBD) reported Wednesday that April’s General Fund receipts rebounded from a disappointing March performance and recorded the seventh positive month out of the first 10 of FY17. Collections grew 1.7 percent compared to April of last year, an increase of $18.7 million. Total revenues for the month were $1,095.8 million, compared to $1,077.1 million received...

General Fund receipts down over $99 million in March compared to 2016 financial report figures

The Office of State Budget Director reported Monday that March’s General Fund receipts fell 11.4 percent compared to March of last year, a decrease of $99.2 million. Total revenues for the month were $770.9 million, compared to $870.1 million during March 2016. Receipts have now grown 1.2 percent for the first nine months of FY17. For the quarter, total General Fund collections declined 3.2 percent,...

General Fund receipts up 5.9 percent in February; Road Fund off slightly compared to last year

The Office of State Budget Director reported that February’s General Fund receipts rose 5.9 percent compared to February of last year, an increase of $39.4 million. Total revenues for the month were $709.0 million, compared to $669.6 million during February 2016. Receipts have now grown 2.8 percent for the first eight months of FY17. The official Consensus Forecasting Group estimate calls for...

State General Fund receipts down 2.1 percent in January from 2016 figures; road fund up

The Office of State Budget Director reported Friday that January’s General Fund receipts fell 2.1 percent compared to January of last year, a decrease of $19.3 million. Total revenues for the month were $884.6 million, compared to $903.9 million during January 2016. Receipts have now grown 2.5 percent for the first seven months of Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17). The official FY17 revenue estimate calls...

Kentucky’s General Fund receipts grew by 2.9 percent in December; Road Fund falls by 13.4 percent

The Office of State Budget Director reported that December’s General Fund receipts rose 2.9 percent compared to December of last year, an increase of $28.4 million. Total revenues for the month were $1,025.2 million, compared to $996.8 million during December 2015. Receipts have increased 3.3 percent for the first six months of the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2017. Second quarter collections...

State General Fund receipts rose 1.4 percent in November; income from Road Fund up 12.1 percent

State Budget Director John Chilton reported Friday that General Fund receipts rose 1.4 percent in November compared to last year. Total revenues for the month were $882.5 million, compared to $870.5 million during November 2015, an increase of $12.0 million. Receipts have now risen 3.5 percent for the first five months of the fiscal year, and must increase 2.2 percent over the final seven months...

State’s General Fund receipts rose 6.0 percent in October; Road Fund receipts fall 7.4 percent

October’s General Fund receipts were $48.0 million more than what was collected last October, an increase of 6.0 percent, State Budget Director John Chilton said Friday. Total revenues for the month were $849.4 million, compared to $801.4 million during October 2015. Receipts have increased 4.0 percent for the first four months of the fiscal year, and need to grow 2.1 percent over the final eight...