Kentucky's revenue outlook 'optimistically uncertain' as group starts budget forecasting

08/07/2013 03:33 PM

FRANKFORT — The daunting task of predicting just how much – or how little – money the commonwealth will have over the next several years got underway Wednesday, and the economists started off by kind of hedging their bets.

One of the governor’s top budget analysts told the Consensus Forecasting Group — a panel of economists — that the future of Kentucky’s economy is “optimistically uncertain.”

Greg Harkenrider, the deputy executive director for the Governor’s Office of Economic Analysis, told reporters that economists are awaiting the signals for “robust recovery” in the state’s economy but there remains uncertainty about hiring and investing.

“A lot of things are in place for the economy to take off and be post-growth rates be more indicative of robust economy,“Harkenrider said. “Right now we think there’s a better than half chance that will occur and all the things will come together and we’ll start getting employment growth (and) income growth more consistent with a robust recovery.”

The next meeting of the Consensus Forecasting Group will be held on Aug. 15. The number crunching will continue throughout the year. Preliminary budget estimates should be completed by October, and the actual enacted estimates are due in December.

During the 60-day General Assembly session that begins in January, lawmakers must craft the next two year budget that begins July 1, 2014.

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