Lt. Governor says Ky. can't thrive without more preschool funding; addresses meth issue

02/14/2012 06:26 AM

A “disappointing” two-year budget underscores the need for new and more reliable streams of revenue to fund must-have programs such as sending more three- and four-year-old Kentuckians to preschool, said Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson.

The 2013-2014 funding levels for education and health programs and cuts for public universities that Gov. Steve Beshear proposed should be “disappointing for any Kentuckian who looks at this budget.” (That discussion is up through 4:50 of the interview).

Among the areas Abramson said needs more money are the Kentucky State Police to hire more troopers and early childhood education to pay for more three- and four-year-olds to go to preschool. Beshear’s budget did include an extra $15 million to pay for an additional 4,000 children — whose families make up to 160 percent of the poverty level — to go to preschool.

“We’re not where we need to be,” Abramson said. He said the Beshear-Abramson will find money by 2015 to fund preschool for students whose families earn up to 200 percent of the poverty level. In 2012 dollars, that would be $30,260 for a single parent with one child or $46,100 for two parents and two children, according to the federal poverty guidelines.

But Abramson wouldn’t say how the administration plans to fund it —whether it’s from growth in tax revenue or proceeds from casino gambling, if that is approved.

“We plan to be there. We plan to ensure there is sufficient funding to get our youngest of our young to be able to be ready for the first grade,” he said (3:40).

Abramson also fielded questions about the competing bills aimed at curtailing methamphetamine production in Kentucky. One proposal would require prescriptions for everyone to get cold and allergy medicine containing pseuedoephedrine — a key ingredient in meth. The only exception would be for gel caps.

Another proposal requires only those with prior drug convictions to get a prescription for medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

“The question is should folks who legitimately need those drugs have to go to the doctor and (pay) a $20 co-pay to get a prescription? All the police authorities around the state are in support of moving in that direction,” Abramson said. Find out what he seems to prefer. That discussion starts at 5:30 of the video above.


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