Governor hopes to use Derby as a catalyst for state growth; hopes budget is better than his Derby bet

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) – Derby 137 is in the books and state leaders hope the momentum from this year's record attendance will spill over to the state's finance's and future jobs.

You can sum up Derby 137 by the hats, the horses, and the hosts.

"It's a wonderful economic development tool and we're the only state that has it," Governor Steve Beshear told WAVE 3's Matt McCutcheon.

During the iconic race, state leaders weren't taking the day off.

"We had a number of CEOs in town both Friday and Saturday; courting them.  They came from all over the world and we are working with them to either entice them to move jobs to Kentucky or expand operations that they already have in this Commonwealth," the Governor said.

It all comes at a time when the state's forecast isn't as rich as this year's Derby pay out.  The next budget year starts in July, and there already appears to be good news, but officials aren't celebrating.

"We are cautiously optimistic that our revenues will keep coming in and a pace faster than we projected, but it's way too early to conclude that and we've got a tough second year budget also that we've got to fill up a $168 million shortfall," the Governor said.

That means furlough days are once again on the books for this next budget which starts in July; but state leaders are taking the finances month by month.  The finances -- and potential job leads -- are two things the Governor hopes will pay off better than his Derby day bet.

"If I had bet on all 19 horses I would have had a winner!  But, no, I didn't have Animal Kingdom," the Governor joked.

The Governor says in all of this it's too early to talk about who these companies are and just how many jobs we might be talking about; But in the end, he's hoping that the news doesn't stop with this year's record breaking attendance at the Kentucky Derby.

He points to the news earlier this month from GM that they will invest additional jobs in Bowling Green as a prime example of companies wanting to invest in the Commonwealth.

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