For Kentucky's State Budget, There's Good News — And Bad News

Jul 22, 2020

Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear delivered some positive news regarding the state budget, along with another warning about what's to come.

Credit LRC Public Information

Budget forecasters had projected a $457 million shortfall in the 2020 fiscal year, but with significantly higher revenues than expected and cuts across state agencies, the governor reported Kentucky could close out the fiscal year in the black.

"It means no cuts to education, health, public safety, or the judicial or legislative branch in the budget that we just ended," Beshear said.

The state could also replenish part of its rainy day fund using the extra dollars, he added.

Yet the economic picture going forward remains bleak. Without federal assistance for state government or more flexibility with previous stimulus funds, the governor cautioned that "we will be looking at, I believe, the largest budget cuts in our history."

The governor said COVID-19 remains the biggest challenge facing the state economy, and repeated a claim - based on a Goldman-Sachs analysis - that successful adoption of the mask mandate could ultimately save the state more than $10 billion.