Senate Passes Budget Proposal

The Senate passed its version of the biennial budget on Wednesday by approving House Bill 1 with committee substitute language by a vote of 30-6. Legislators will now work out differences in their bills and recommendations from Governor Andy Beshear.

Senate Appropriations and Revenue Chair Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill) said the Senate will leave Kentucky’s rainy day fund at $1.75 billion, provides $4,500 pay raises to state employees, raises state trooper pay by $15,000, and includes $200 million to the road fund for matching funds for federal grants for mega projects.

This version of the budget largely mirrors the House-passed version in several ways, including:

  • Retains the Local Government Economic Development Fund provisions passed for Fiscal Years 2020, 2021, and 2022;
  • Provides $28.5 million in FY 2023 for a new Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT) indoor firing range;
  • Allocates $5 million each fiscal year to help companies locate or expand their facilities;
  • Raises the $4,000 training incentive pay for firefighters and law enforcement officers to $4,300;
  • Raises the $11,000 volunteer firefighter aid payment to $11,500; and
  • Maintains level funding of $2 million for Operation UNITE to prevent abuse of drugs and facilitate recovery.

Unlike the House proposal, the Senate provides $50 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for the Broadband Deployment Fund. It also provides $300 million in FY 2023 from ARPA for drinking water and wastewater grants allocated to each county on a per capita basis, with Jefferson County’s population reduced by 50%. The House allocated $350 million for those grants. These funds would supplement the $150 million the General Assembly appropriated last year for the same purposes.

The Senate version includes $2.5 million to conduct a study for a law enforcement training facility in Madisonville. High demand for classes at the DOCJT academy in Richmond has delayed new officers hitting the streets. The bill states the General Assembly’s intent to authorize $25 million for a dormitory for law enforcement professionals to receive training if the study suggests the need.

“This idea for a regional law enforcement training center has been one that has brought over 40 cities and counties in agreeance that this will elevate not only our own city, but every city and county throughout western Kentucky,” said KLC Board member and Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton. “My sincere appreciation to both the House and the Senate as they have caught the vision and created a plan that will solve a problem that has plagued this side of the state for over 20 years. We are so excited about the potential to have this opportunity arise in the City of Madisonville.”

The Senate also included $2.09 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to support the Energy Efficiency Block Grant Program. The House did not include that funding.

Senators did not include the $10 million that representatives approved for the State Legislators Grant Pool. The House proposal allocates $50,000 each year per representative, and $130,000 per senator, for grants to local governments, educational institutions, or quasi-state agencies.