Expanding on some good news about the 2020 fiscal year, Gov. Beshear announced yesterday that the General Fund revenues ended up $104.6 million above the budgeted estimate, at a total of nearly $12 billion. The General Fund surplus will be $177.5 million.
“COVID-19 has upended all of our lives, and what it’s going to do to our budget next year, without federal assistance, will be devastating. We believe it could cause the single largest budget cuts in our state’s history, and we hope Congress will act,” said Gov. Beshear. “But what I can tell you is that this year’s budget has turned out to be one of the better budgets we’ve had here in a while in Kentucky. We did not end the year with a deficit; we ended up $177.5 million in the black. … I hope the people of Kentucky know how fiscally responsible this administration is committed to being, especially during this crisis.”
Previously, Gov. Beshear said the improved economic footing means no budget cuts to K-12 education, post-secondary education, and health and public safety, and no cuts to the Judicial or Legislative branch budgets.
The Governor also has said an increase in lottery revenues would result in another $15 million for need-based student financial aid this coming school year.
After holding back $15 million for necessary government expenses, Gov. Beshear said the $162.5 million going to the rain day fund, which is called the Budget Reserve Trust Fund, will bring it up to $465.7 million, which is the largest deposit to the fund from a year-end surplus.
“This extra amount to the rainy day fund is good, because we’re going to need it. As good as this looks, next year looks just as bad,” said Gov. Beshear.
Gov. Beshear cautioned that the outlook for fiscal year 2021 remains challenging.
He said that although the Road Fund revenue posted a shortfall of $60.3 million, no cuts were being made to the state construction program due to lower spending and help from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Gov. Beshear emphasized that successfully fighting to stop the spread of COVID-19 remains the most important component to safeguarding our economy.