Comparison of the House and Senate budget bills


For those of you who like to dig into the details, here is a side-by-side comparison of the House and Senate budget bills. As always, if you REALLY want to dig into the details, you should visit the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy and read their in-depth analyses of the budgets. Their Senate budget analysis came out the evening that the bill was first presented, which is pretty amazing work. (And by the way, you should also donate to their work, which is top-notch.)

The House will probably reject the Senate version of their bill, so then the two houses will have to go to conference to hammer out a compromise on the differences. Watch for updates on Forward Kentucky as we follow this important bill.


Budget Bill Comparison
As of 2018/03/21


Funding Pensions

TRSFunds the ARCUnderfunds the ARC by more than $1B over the 2-year bienniumSenate President Stivers said this was done to make a point with the teachers.
Healthcare for under-65 teacher retireesPays premium support for under-65 retirees for one year, then requires TRS to pay it out of their healthcare fundDoes not pay premium support for under-65 retirees, requiring TRS to pay it out of their healthcare fund for both years
KRSFunds the ARCFunds the ARC – then pays an additional $1B over the bienniumGranted, KRS systems are in worse shape than TRS … but this is where the teachers’ money went.
Legislative/judicial pensionsFunds the ARCIncludes no funding for these pension systems

Revenue and Transfers

Clean up special interest tax breaks to raise revenue, and/or additional revenue streamsNoneNoneNumerous possibilities exist in this space, but none were included in either bill other than the new opioid tax.
Income tax filingRemoves $10 credit for filing income tax returnsNot included 
Cigarette taxIncreases tax by 50 centsNo increase in cigarette tax 
Opioid taxImposes tax of 25 cents per doseRemoves opioid tax 
MiscellaneousFreeze film credit and tourism tax credit and an increase in the waste tires fee of $1Same as House 
TransfersTakes $481M out of Kentucky Employees Health Plan over bienniumTakes $310M out of Kentucky Employees Health Plan over biennium 

Spending and Cuts

Most of state spending6.25% cut across the board6.25% cut across the boardPercentage originally proposed by the governor
Employee raisesNone fundedNone fundedState workers have had no pay increases for 8 of the last 10 years
SEEK fundingIncreases SEEK base formula and restores SEEK transportation dollarsCuts House funding by $72M / $80MBoth budgets still set SEEK funding lower than 2008 levels
TextbooksNo funding providedNo funding providedGovernor’s proposal also included no funding
Healthcare for current teachersFully funds the programCuts $58M / $72M from House proposalLocal school districts will have to make up the difference
Preschool Cuts funding by 6.25% 
Afterschool Cuts funding by 6.25% 
Higher educationKeeps base funding at current levels, but does cut some programsCuts base funding by 6.25% along with some programsState spending on higher education has been cut 35% since 2008
Higher education performance fundingIncluded $7.7m for performance based funding in 2020Puts $24M / $31M into pool that schools must compete forEven if your school gets some of this, it is still less than the cuts.
Higher ed scholarships Increases need-based scholarship funding by $11M more than House over two years 
Social workersAccepts Gov’s proposal to add funding to hire more social workers and give pay raises to allKeeps increase. 
K-CHIP (Children’s healthcare) Adds $12M to make up for reduction in Federal funding 
State Police, Veteran’s AffairsProtected from 6.25% cut applied to most of state governmentSame 
Private PrisonsIncludes $37M/year for new private prisonsRemoves the funding for private prisons unless all beds in local jails are fully utilized