Senate A&R chair expects difficult budget session in 2016

06/10/2015 09:22 AM

ERLANGER — State Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, thinks that the 2016 budget session will be one of the toughest in recent years in the General Assembly.

McDaniel, chair of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee, is concerned about a number of high priced items which will have to addressed, such as funding kynect as well as state pension liabilities.

“We have to pay for the expansion of Medicaid in two consecutive years,” McDaniel said. “We have to pay for an ARC which will increase, assuming that we stick with a 7.5 rate of return. The governor has given a series of raises to state employees over the past several weeks which will consume additional dollars in the budget.”

In a move this week Gov. Steve Beshear raised the minimum wage for state executive branch employees by executive order for low-wage earners from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. In addition, tipped employees, will see their base pay increased from $2.19 per hour to $4.90 hourly.

It’s expected that the increase will cost about $1.58 million more in the upcoming fiscal year, with some $800,000 coming from the General Fund.

McDaniel says while he’s all for workers making more money, he is concerned that state hasn’t paid its current debts and raising the minimum wage will add further to the state’s financial woes.

“We have tremendous obligations to our pension systems,” McDaniel said. “This will accrue additional liability into those systems.”

McDaniel, who ran for Lt. Governor unsuccessfully as the running mate of the James Comer in the GOP gubernatorial primary, feels that the Republican Party will unite behind nominee Matt Bevin, despite a tough primary race.

“We will see this party continue to come together,” McDaniel told Pure Politics. “You saw a lot of it at the Lincoln Day dinner last week, and that will continue on over the summer here and I think you’ll see a very strong effort in the fall.”


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