FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says the state’s economy is moving in the right direction.
Beshear also says State Budget Director John Hicks announced Kentucky’s general fund and road fund receipts. The Bluegrass State’s tax collection was reported at an all-time monthly high of $486.5 million for the month of April 2021, which is the largest tax collection yet in the state and more than 40% higher than last April. The governor says this means this April has seen more sales tax and therefore more spending than any April in the state’s history.
“So whatever people want to say about the economy being open, it’s more open than any other April in our history as shown by what people are actually doing, by their economic activity,” Beshear says.
The governor added this includes a record number of vehicles sold this April compared to the month in previous years based on the usage tax for April 2021.
Beshear says the money will be added to the current fiscal year’s general fund, which is estimated to have a surplus of more than $586 million. He also says for the first time in several years, the state’s road fund will also have a surplus this fiscal year. The funds’ receipts have increased at 59.1% and 59.1% respectively with the general fund at a year-to-date 10.8% increase and the road fund year-to-date up 5.5%.
Kentucky’s rainy day fund is record-breaking with more than $1 billion in the fund. The rainy day fund has not come close to such a large amount in the state’s history, the governor says.
Last week, Fitch’s Ratings, one of the largest credit rating agencies, raised its rating of the state’s economic outlook based on “solid economic recovery,” according to the governor. He said this includes responsible fiscal management, such as two budget surpluses and the state’s largest-ever rainy day fund. The governor said as of March 2021, Kentucky’s employment recovery is running “slightly ahead of the national pace.”
The governor said the state was also ranked third in the nation and first in the south-central region for overall economic investments by Site Selection Magazines in 2020regarding projects per capita.
In addition, the Bluegrass State’s Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund is expected to receive $2.183 billion from the American Rescue Plan. Beshear says the allotment is a little lower than the state originally anticipated because part of the equation involves how hard had the state been hit verse how much the state has recovered. The number was lowered from the originally estimated $2.4 billion because Kentucky recovered more in the fourth quarter than several surrounding states.
“In other words, Kentucky has recovered stronger than the federal government anticipated,” Beshear said.
The governor and state health officials again urged Kentuckians to get vaccinated against the virus. To further encourage Kentuckians to get vaccinated, the Kentucky Lottery is offering coupons for a free Cash Ball 225 to those 18 and older who get their vaccine at participating locations.