Big Spending Compromise Budget Sent to Gov. Beshear

A compromise version of the state budget bills has been agreed upon and approved by the House and Senate.

House Bill 6, the two-year $102 billion biennial budget includes numerous projects of importance to cities, cleared the Senate on Wednesday night and the House on Thursday.

KLC has broken down the shifts in the budget bills HB 6 and HB 1 relating to cities in this comparison chart between the House, Senate, and the final compromise budget with items important to cities.

House Bill 1, legislation that includes the use of one-time investments, left both chambers on Thursday—just before the veto recess. The bill, which was agreed to in a free conference between the chambers, spends more than $2.7 billion of the $3.7 billion budget reserve trust fund on infrastructure.

Of note is a KLC initiative to include a $50 million allocation for constructing the Western Kentucky Law Enforcement Training Academy in Madisonville.

In total, there are more than 175 priority city-related projects in the budget, totaling billions of dollars. 

The budget bills now head to Gov. Beshear where he will have until April 9 at midnight to review and consider potential line-item vetoes.

Road Funding Plans Sent to the Governor 

The House and Senate approved HB 265 and HB 266, which make up the state’s road funding plans. HB 266 is the biennium Road Plan (2024-2026), which includes specific construction projects listed by county along with various phases and timelines for each project. HB 265 provides the operating budget for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), which includes investments for local road repairs.

 “With an infusion of almost $450 million from the general fund, a lot of money is freed up that will allow us to better help our judge/executives, mayors, and local road departments improve county and city roadways,” Senate Transportation Chair Jimmy Higdon said.

HB 265 serves as the operating budget for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, funding the six-year Road Plan. Total appropriations within this budget for fiscal years (FY) 2025 and 2026 amount to $7.2 billion.
 
Several projects of interest include:

  1. Allocation of $500,000 in general fund dollars for Riverport Improvement grants aimed at enhancing public riverports within Kentucky.
  2. Provision of $25 million in each FY to establish the County and City Bridge Improvement initiative.
  3. Allotment of $6.3 million in each FY to establish three new regional driver’s licensing offices and recruit additional personnel.

Additionally, the bill earmarks $20 million in each FY for the County Priority Projects Program, which aids counties and cities in improving roads with hazardous conditions. These funds were appropriated in House Joint Resolution (HJR) 92.

Gov. Beshear will also review the road funding plans during the veto recess.