Beshear Signs Budget After 22 Line-Item Vetoes

Governor Andy Beshear issued 22 line-item vetoes to House Bill 1 but signed the rest of the executive branch budget into law on Monday. Most budget items of importance to cities remained in the final measure.

Beshear vetoed an 8% pay raise for legislators and constitutional officers while approving 8% pay raises for state employees.

Among the items that Beshear signed into law include:

  • An additional $100 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and more than $2.3 million from state funds for the expansion of high-speed broadband access and the creation of the Office for Broadband
  • $250 million from the American Rescue Plant Act (ARPA) for drinking water and wastewater grants that the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA) will administer
  • $250 million in potential matching funds for major transportation infrastructure projects such as the Brent Spence companion bridge project, I-69 Ohio River crossing at Henderson, and completion of the Mountain Parkway expansion project
  • $15 million for a life sciences lab in the City of Covington
  • $170 million to renovate 24 locally operated career and technical education centers
  • $50 million each year to identify and prepare economic development megasites

The governor commented that he was more optimistic than ever that groundbreaking for the Brent Spence Bridge project would occur in 2023.

Beshear described many of his vetoes as technical. He struck lines clarifying funding caps for projects within a county unless authorized by the General Assembly. Beshear stated that the provision would prevent communities in multiple counties from undertaking cooperative projects.

He also vetoed lines he said would have required local government and private sector partners to provide matching funds to preserve, repair, and rehabilitate the physical plant of Kentucky’s State Parks system.

Beshear stated another line-item veto removed language to allow statewide constitutional officers other than the governor to direct and implement budget reduction actions. Beshear also vetoed items that named the attorney general the final arbiter on major budget questions, including interpreting the Transportation Cabinet budget.

The General Assembly will return to Frankfort on Wednesday for the final two days of the 2022 Regular Session. Legislators may override vetoes with a simple constitutional majority vote – 51 votes in the House and 20 votes in the Senate.