FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday he had signed the Executive Branch budget bill enacted by the General Assembly, but used his line-item veto power in 22 areas.
During a Capitol press conference, the governor said, “There is a lot to be excited about in the upcoming 2022-2024 state budget recently passed by lawmakers.”
He said he wanted to make sure the state continues its economic momentum, “by investing in infrastructure like high-speed internet and cleaner water, roads and bridges, while making it easier for emerging industries and other businesses to locate and expand in Kentucky. I’m pleased to say this state budget makes great strides in accomplishing these goals.”
Beshear said that includes such things as significant growth in higher education spending, career and technical training, state police and state employee raises.
“These are the areas we must invest in today to help the commonwealth become a national leader by turning two years of incredible progress into 20 years of prosperity for Kentucky’s families,” he said. “With these dollars, we are going to make major investments in critical infrastructure needed to build a better Kentucky and create and attract the jobs of the future.”
Among his disappointments, not enough funding for K-12, no teacher pay raises, and no funding for universal pre-K.
He also noted in the budget lawmakers borrowed more than ever and created new programs and policies without the funds to pay for them. The governor said he vetoed a section of the legislative budget where lawmakers gave themselves a raise, vetoed his own pay raise, as well as one for other constitutional officers.
He also said he was disappointed in items left out of the budget, such as:
--Restoration of past budget cuts to textbooks and professional development.
--Better Kentucky Promise Scholarship program.
--Loan forgiveness programs for teachers and social workers.
--Hero Pay with $400 million from ARPA funds.
--Staffing to restore services at local and regional unemployment insurance offices.
--An agri-tech research and development facility in eastern Kentucky.
--Any funding for the Commission on Women.
--An increase in funding for the Commission on Human Rights.
--Funding to modernize Kentucky’s central public health laboratory facility.
When asked by reporters if there were any bills he hoped would pass when lawmakers come back for the final two days of the session on Wednesday, he said medical marijuana and sports wagering.
Lawmakers can override any of his line-item vetoes of the budget bill, as well as any other vetoes, with a simple majority vote when they return Wednesday and Thursday.