FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) – How Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear wants to use the state’s $24 billion budget is now clear.
Beshear laid out his spending plans for the next two years in his first budget address Tuesday evening.
"There are finally dollars to start reinvesting in our families,” Beshear said, “but let me be clear, these dollars are limited."
He also proposed no cuts to post-secondary education and said it would be the first budget in more than a decade where no cuts would be made there at all.
In addition to teachers, government employees and law enforcement seeing pay raises, new dollars in the budget were modeled on new revenue streams like sports gaming, cigarette, tobacco and vaping taxes.
The budget plan is now in the hands of Kentucky lawmakers, who will look at what the governor proposed and make the changes they want.
“I do expect bipartisan support on the vaping tax, the cigarette tax, and sports gaming,” Sen. Morgan McGarvey, the Kentucky Senate minority leader, said. “Those are all republican bills that the governor’s saying he supports. We need new revenue.”
However, some told WAVE 3 News they’re upset because Beshear’s address was the first time they heard his specific spending plans, including campaign promises of fully funding expanded Medicaid and giving teachers a $2,000 raise.
"The governor says he wants to change the tone in Frankfort,” Sen. Robert Stivers said. “This is probably the least tone changing incident that I've seen so far because we had no knowledge."
Republican leaders saying they see a so-called ‘Education First’ bill that Beshear notes would not fully fund last year’s school safety bill.
"To present a budget that doesn't fully fund keeping our most precious assets safe is pretty disconcerting," Rep. David Osborne, the Kentucky House speaker, said.
Beshear ended his address by bringing attention to issues in the state corrections system and reducing incarceration, which is what he says is Kentucky’s biggest challenge moving forward.