FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Most of the 2019 fiscal year surplus of nearly $200 million in the General Fund will go to the ailing state pension system, according to the state budget office.
Gov. Matt Bevin announced Thursday the surplus earlier this month for the 2019 fiscal year, which ended June 30, after revenues topped estimates by $194.5 million, exceeding the 2018 fiscal year by more than $500 million.
The Office of the State Budget Director announced that following payment of $33.2 million in unbudgeted but necessary government expenditures, the following appropriations were made, as prescribed by the FY 2018-2020 biennial budget:
–Coal severance tax to coal counties – $15 million
–Mineral severance tax to mineral counties – $2.7 million
–Lottery receipts to need-based scholarships – $14.9 million
–Teachers Retirement System post-retirement health insurance fund – $70 million
–Kentucky Employees Retirement System Nonhazardous unfunded pension liability fund – $60.1 million
In its year-end revenue report, the Office of the State Budget Director attributed the state’s revenue growth to statewide economic development efforts and tax reform policies that broadened the tax base and modernized the tax rate structure.
“We are pleased that this strong budget surplus allows us to allocate significant additional resources to benefit Kentuckians, including state employees, retired teachers, postsecondary students and local communities,” said State Budget Director John Chilton. “Commitment to fiscal responsibility and forward-thinking economic policies are setting the Commonwealth on a course for sustained financial stability and growth.”
According to the Governor’s office, Kentucky’s economy is experiencing record low unemployment, with more people working in the state than ever before. Since December 2015, more than $20 billion in new investment has been announced throughout the state, with nearly 53,800 new jobs created. As of May 2019, Kentucky exports reached a record high of over $105 billion.
Chilton will present more details about the FY 2019 budget when he makes a report to the General Assembly’s Interim Joint Appropriations and Budget Committee in August.