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Bevin issues vetoes, says budget ‘restores fiscal responsibility,’ flexibility to manage resources

Gov. Matt Bevin exercised vetoes on items included in the budget passed in the final hours of the General Assembly session. The vetoes will stand because the legislature cannot re-convene.

See the governor’s veto messages here.

Bevin said the final budget “invests an unprecedented amount of dollars into the state’s ailing pension systems and restores fiscal responsibility in state government.”

Gov. Matt Bevin

Gov. Matt Bevin

“We are delighted that this budget makes a historic commitment to our ailing pension system and restores fiscal responsibility in state government,” said Bevin.

“All of the goals that we outlined in January to repair our financial foundation have been achieved. First and foremost, we are being good stewards of the hard-earned dollars that are entrusted to us. We are committing funds to address the backlogs of untested rape kits, dedicating the lottery proceeds entirely for education, putting resources directly into workforce training, strengthening the fight against substance abuse and keeping the promise made to our teachers and other retired state workers. Today’s action will create economic opportunity and provide benefits to generations for years to come.”

The budget meets the goals he laid out in January, he said:

• Strengthens Kentucky’s financial foundation by signing the most fiscally conservative budget in decades. 
• Keeps promise to Kentucky’s public servants, teachers and retired workers and dedicates $1 billion to our pension system. More money to our pension system than any previous budget.
• Invests in workforce development by establishing a $100 million bond pool to support workforce training initiatives statewide. 
• Protects the SEEK formula while holding the per-pupil funding harmless from any reduction.
• Dedicates all available lottery proceeds entirely to education, as originally promised to Kentuckians.
• Provides increase in investment to front-line members of Kentucky’s law enforcement, including pay raises for Kentucky State Police.
• Makes additional funds immediately available to begin addressing the backlogs of untested rape kits and other types of forensic testing in order to bring justice to the victims.
• Bolsters the fight against substance abuse by fully funding the 2015 anti-heroin legislation. 
• Redirects an unprecedented amount of coal severance funds back to the counties and communities where the coal industry has been hit hardest.
• Invests in infrastructure for the future.
• Creates a permanent pension fund to address the ongoing need to fix our unfunded pension systems.
Governor’s targeted vetoes give additional flexibility to ensure we are fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars:
• Commits funding for Work Ready Scholarship program
◦ The Governor preserved funding for the Work Ready Scholarship program in the second year of the biennium so the program can be effectively designed and implemented.
• Ensures efficient and effective use of agency resources
◦ With the Commonwealth facing significant fiscal constraints, agencies must retain maximum administrative flexibility to effectively deploy agency resources.
• Preserves more than $90 million per year for the Preschool Programs and dedicated $7.5 million each year for grant programs to develop high quality, full day quality programs for children.

The Governor’s veto of the Work Ready scholarships in the coming fiscal year met with criticism from House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

“The decision by Gov. Bevin to veto House Bill 626 will impact every high school student across Kentucky and their families because the students would have been able to attend college beginning this fall tuition-free and be ready to work upon graduation,” Stumbo said. “The veto also negated the $100 million bond issue for projects that would have been constructed throughout the commonwealth to train our workers, and the veto also took out a broader dual-credit program for our high school students going forward and performance-based funding for our universities.

“No forward-thinking governor would’ve acted in this way. It is a sad and unfortunate day for all of Kentucky.”

From Governor’s Office, Speaker’s Office Communications

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