Stumbo predicts 'destructive' budget in 2014 and lays out his top priorities for funding

11/14/2013 11:04 PM

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, is predicting a “lean” and “destructive” budget when lawmakers craft the next two-year spending plan starting in January.

Specifically Stumbo said school districts are at risk and aren’t likely to see much of an increase in state funding if any. SEEK — or Support Education Excellence in Kentucky — funding has decreased by $39 per student over the last four-years to $3,866 mostly because enrollment has increased while funding levels remained stagnant. Stumbo says the funding might have to drop again.

Also at risk in the budget session are social programs such as funding for the childcare assistance program, which provides day care stipends for low income parents.

“We’ve had, I think, 19 child care centers that have closed. We need about $90 million to re-open them at state money. And we don’t have $90 million to spend right now,” Stumbo said.

Stumbo said that the budget could effect community health care centers like Seven Counties, which has been struggling financially amid increased payments into the pension system even though state reimbursement rates for treatment have not — and likely will not — increase in the next biennium.

Lawmakers have said for years that tax reform is needed to help state revenue keep pace with the economy, but Stumbo said that the likelihood of those reforms being put in place during the next budget cycle are unlikely .

Another avenue that could be a possibility is the expansion of gaming in the state. We’ll have much more from Stumbo on how gaming could be an issue next week on Pure Politics.


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