Beshear promises education will be spared amid shortfall; Decision on child care stipend forthcoming

06/12/2014 08:53 AM

Gov. Steve Beshear said he still doesn’t know how big the budget shortfall will be amid lagging revenue the past few months, but the governor said Wednesday that education program won’t be cut or delayed as a result.

Beshear was less specific about the phased in increases in child care stipends. Kentucky had provided stipends to parents making up to 150 percent of the poverty rate to help them cover daycare costs while they worked or got a degree. Beshear rolled that threshold back to cover only those making below the federal poverty rate — $15,500 for a family of two or $23,550 for a family of four — last year.

After he cut the program because of a budget shortfall in the health cabinet, the General Assembly added in funding for the next two-year budget to gradually restore it to 150 percent of the poverty rate by the 2015-16 fiscal year. Starting after July 1, that threshold is supposed to go to 125 percent of the federal poverty rate.

Beshear said his administration had not yet decided what month the bump-up in the stipend threshold would kick in.

But Beshear and Health and Family Services Cabinet spokeswoman Jill Midkiff said Wednesday the Medicaid program — and health cabinet in general — does not face a shortfall in this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Here’s what Beshear said about the shortfall, Medicaid and the child care stipend.


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