Gov. Bevin takes to social media to defend proposed budget cuts; vows to not sign budget bill that includes new debt
02/28/2016 09:26 AM
Gov. Matt Bevin is defending his two year state spending plan with a direct message to the people of Kentucky via a video on his social media sites.
Bevin’s message, taped in his Capitol office, comes after weeks of testimony predicting devastation to Kentucky’s universities, court system, watch dog agencies and the ability to hold elections, because of his proposed 4.5 percent cuts in the current fiscal year and 9 percent spending reductions over the biennium.
“It was a fiscally responsible budget,” Bevin said in the video. “It is one that takes into consideration the fact that our administration has been left with tens of billions of dollars in debt and unfunded liability.”
In the video posted online on Saturday, Bevin said the state has four options to combat increasing pension debt: ignore the problem, raise taxes, borrow money or cut spending, which is what the first year governor is advocating.
“I want to be very clear. There is no chance that I am going to sign a budget bill that borrows money from our children and grandchildren to take care of today’s problems,” he said. “That is immoral. It is irresponsible, and there is no way that we should continue to do this.”
Bevin said it was a “sucker’s bet” and a “loser’s game” to pay off debt with more debt.
As the House and Senate start to talk about the process of making tweaks to the budget, Bevin again is quoting the state’s motto and asking lawmakers to come together under his vision.
“I’m asking for our House and our Senate to come together,” he said calling on both bodies to unite in fiscal responsibility.
Under Bevin’s budget proposal, he would send an additional $220 million into the Kentucky Employees Retirement System. Retirees have rallied for more cash into the systems as the funded percentage has dipped below 18 percent of the money needed to cover its liabilities.
The Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System is also getting attention in Bevin’s budget, with more than $1 billion in the biennium heading to the fund. Bevin’s $21.8 billion budget proposal calls for an additional $659 million for KTRS over the next two year. That fund has a 55.3 percent funded status.
Sending more dollars to the pension system is offset by cuts nearly everywhere else, which has many lawmakers concerned.
Democratic leaders in the state House have promised to restore some dollars to K-12 and higher education in their version of the spending plan which is expected to come before members in mid-March.
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