Memo says Gov.-elect Beshear facing massive budget shortfall


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov.-elect Andy Beshear faces a budget shortfall estimated to exceed $1 billion as he prepares a state spending plan to submit to lawmakers early next year, according to a memo from outgoing Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration.

The memo from Bevin’s budget director, John Chilton, said additional funding will be needed for pensions, corrections, Medicaid and employee health benefits.

Chilton sent the memo to Beshear’s transition team and lawmakers.

Beshear spokeswoman Crystal Staley said a budget transition team is “working diligently” and is preparing materials for the incoming governor, who takes office next Tuesday. Chilton’s memo will be reviewed along with other materials by the transition team, she said.

Chilton’s memo projects modest revenue growth in the 1.7% to 2% range in the upcoming two-year period. The next biennium budget runs from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022.

Beshear has guaranteed that a $2,000 pay raise for public school teachers he campaigned on will be in his spending blueprint. Beshear supports legalizing casino gambling to generate new revenue. During the campaign, he recommended using casino revenue to shore up public pensions. But two top Republicans lawmakers have said any effort to legalize casino gambling would be “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

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