House budget provides funding for education, pensions

Published 8:46 am Tuesday, March 13, 2018


State Representative

As we begin to enter the last few weeks of another historic session, I want to recap the amazing amount of work that has been done so far in the House chamber. An adoption and foster care overhaul has been passed, beginning the process to help every Kentucky child find a loving home. A curriculum that will teach kids how to get jobs and how to work with others flew through the House with flying colors, equipping all of our children with the most basic skill sets for the 21st Century. We have passed legislation that would curtail abuse of workers’ compensation, giving the money only to those who absolutely need it. And more ground-breaking legislation is on the way. But all of that pales in comparison to our budget proposal and how it will dramatically affect the state for years to come.

Email newsletter signup

It is important to understand how important this budget, the first Republican budget in nearly 100 years, will help and provide for Kentucky families for numerous generations, especially when it comes to our school children.

We have funded our school children, which are our future, at an unprecedented level across the entire spectrum. Local school districts will now receive more than $4,000 per student in SEEK funding for the next two years. That’s the highest amount of funding ever in Kentucky’s history, ensuring that our young students are prepared for bright futures. School district transportation will be funded at an extraordinary $127 million, enabling all students from across the state to get to their schools in a safe and quick manner.

Cuts that were proposed to our Family Resource and Youth Service Centers, centers which help numerous Kentucky families before, during, and after school, have been restored. Nearly an additional $20 million will be invested over the next two years to create more of these centers so school children and their families will have even more of a pathway to success.

The same goes for our colleges and universities. The cuts that Governor Matt Bevin proposed to all of our public higher education institutions are no more. The funding for our colleges and universities have been drastically cut for too long and it’s time we reverse that trend before it’s too late.

Those who teach or have taught the future leaders of our state will also be rewarded. The House budget has committed nearly $60 million dollars to ensure that teachers who have retired early, but have not reached the age to be eligible for Medicare, will still have health insurance.

This budget also works on addressing the pension crisis, a situation that has quite frankly placed Kentucky among the worst in the nation. Our budget proposal will commit over $800 million to fund the state’s portion of annual pension payments – the highest amount EVER in Kentucky’s history.  

And importantly, this budget commits to public safety, equipping our finest police officers with the best equipment. Money will be used to buy Kentucky State Police more than 250 cruisers, 800 rifles, and a state-of the-art $35 million dispatch system to ensure that all Kentuckians can be safe and protected around the clock. For many years our state police have been underfunded and ill-equipped. We are finally correcting that problem and backing our troops in gray. And to the dreadful backlog of our court system, several attorneys will be hired to ensure every Kentuckian’s right to a speedy and fair trial.

Don’t let the constant misinformation and the noise from the detractors tell you any different – the House budget proposal is fiscally sound. This budget sets Kentucky toward a bright future and immediate success. And perhaps most importantly, it begins to finally correct the problems that have been plaguing our state for several decades. No longer will we turn a blind eye to our state’s numerous problems, which were largely created by a past willingness to be complacent. With this budget, we will finally put Kentucky on the correct path.

Daniel Elliott represents the 54th District of Boyle and Casey counties in the Kentucky House of Representatives.