Gov.-elect Bevin taps John Chilton as state budget director

12/01/2015 10:42 AM

UPDATED WITH REACTION FROM GOV. BESHEAR — Gov.-elect Matt Bevin announced Tuesday that John Chilton will be his state budget director.

Chilton is a Certified Public Accountant with Louisville firm Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP, a regional accounting firm with nearly 300 employees in Louisville, Lexington, Cincinnati and Jeffersonville, according to a press release.

“He is a man of exceptional character, extensive financial knowledge, and proven leadership experience,” Bevin said of Chilton. “The Commonwealth of Kentucky is blessed to have a budget director with John’s abilities and commitment to service.”

“According to the Beshear administration, they are leaving Kentucky burdened with a projected biennial budget shortfall of more than five hundred million dollars. The appointment of a highly qualified budget director, therefore, is of tremendous importance,” Bevin continued. “Much work is needed to get Kentucky’s financial crisis resolved, but I know John is up to the challenge.”

Gov. Beshear responded to the “budget shortfall” Bevin referenced, calling the statement a “mystery.”

“In today’s news release by Gov.-elect Bevin, it’s a mystery why a statement that there will be a shortfall was attributed to my administration when there is no budget shortfall,” Beshear said in a statement. “We assume that the so-called shortfall is just a first look at revenues and selected budget requests.

“To balance every budget is a difficult process because the needs and requests always outpace revenues,” Beshear continued. “But that’s what leaders do; they find a way to balance the budget. I have had to balance and rebalance the state’s budget 15 times. … The Consensus Forecasting Group recently approved a revenue forecast that predicts another budget surplus at the end of the current fiscal year and sustainable growth the next several years.”

Beshear went on to say that current unemployment of 4.9 percent is at the lowest it’s been in 14 years. He added that the current fiscal year has seen a nearly 5 percent growth in General Fund revenues.

“We deposited $82.5 million in the state’s Rainy Day fund thanks to excess revenues in fiscal year 2015, and we paid our $972 million federal Unemployment Insurance loan two years ahead of schedule that gave us a safety net for our out-of-work Kentuckians during the recession,” Beshear said. “Now Kentucky employers will save approximately $165 million in federal UI taxes. It is critically important that our new governor and his budget director develop an understanding of the work of the Consensus Forecasting Group and the budget process as they consider the upcoming biennial budget and their priorities for Kentucky.”

Chilton also issued a statement, saying he is “honored” to be selected by Bevin for the post.

“Governor Bevin is a principled businessman with the courage to make the tough decisions needed to get our fiscal house in order,” Chilton said. “I am humbled by this opportunity to serve the Commonwealth.”

Chilton has focused on issues of domestic and international income and other taxes, and also on business valuation, business acquisition, disposition and reorganization, according to the press release.

Chilton has been an active donor to Republican candidates, including donating to Bevin’s gubernatorial campaign.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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