A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Governor, legislative leadership say excess revenues of $194m will go to retired teacher health, pensions

Gov. Matt Bevin Thursday joined Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker David Osborne to announce that Kentucky closed Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) on June 30th with record high state revenues, creating a significant budget surplus for the state.

According to data released by the Office of the State Budget Director, Kentucky’s FY19 General Fund revenues exceeded estimates by $194.5 million, and Road Fund revenues surpassed estimates by $59.5 million. The report also noted that total General Fund revenues hit an all-time high for Kentucky, exceeding FY18 revenues by more than $550 million.

“Our strong finish this fiscal year shows that Kentucky’s forward-thinking economic policies are working for Kentuckians,” said Gov. Bevin. “This is the kind of positive, incremental growth that will sustain the Commonwealth and allow us to continue providing vital public services, while meeting our obligations to state employees by fully funding our pension systems. I am grateful for the partnership with our House and Senate leadership, as we work together to continue growing our economy and strengthening Kentucky’s financial foundation. We are just getting started.”

The year-end revenue report from the State Budget Office attributes the state’s revenue growth to statewide economic development efforts and tax reform policies that broadened the tax base, lowered the top income tax rates, and modernized the tax rate structure.

“This tremendous news is a direct result of the good fiscal management by the Governor’s office and smart legislative decisions implemented by the Republican majority over the past three years,” said Senate President Robert Stivers. “Coupled with a booming economy, this revenue surplus is undeniable evidence that the future of Kentucky continues to move in the right direction.”

Under Gov. Bevin’s leadership and the leadership of supermajorities in the House and Senate, Kentucky’s economy is experiencing record low unemployment, with more people working in the Commonwealth than ever before. Since December 2015, $19.8 billion in new investment has been announced throughout the state, with over 52,000 new jobs created. As of March 2019, Kentucky exports reached a record high of over $99 billion.

“This surplus is evidence that the policies we adopted are paying off for the Commonwealth,” said House Speaker David Osborne. “We have lowered personal income taxes, broadened the tax base, and as a result we are seeing positive results in both revenue growth, job creation, and economic investments. It is equally telling that the surplus is already committed to paying off our obligations in order to keep our state on the path to prosperity.”

The biennial budget bill establishes how excess general fund revenues will be allocated, and provides that additional funds from FY19 will be used to pay necessary government expenditures and provide additional funding to the Retired Teacher’s Health Insurance Plan and the Kentucky pension system.

Excess lottery receipts will be fully allocated to education, including the College Access Program and the Kentucky Tuition Grant Program. In addition, excess coal severance receipts will be transferred to the Local Government Economic Assistance Fund.

Governor’s Office

Tomorrow: Budget Director Chilton’s details report on fiscal year revenues.

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