Doom, doom, metaphysical doom
Friday, May 29, 2009 4:25 pm
Statement from Gov. Steve Beshear on official economic forecast
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 29, 2009)—“The Consensus Forecasting Group has made clear today the significant budgetary challenge before us. We now face a $996 million shortfall for the General Fund and a $239.1 million shortfall for the Road Fund next budget year, beginning July 1, 2009.
It is the largest budget shortfall in modern Kentucky history. And it represents the third year in a row that projected revenues have not met projected needs in our state – also an unprecedented occurrence. It is our responsibility to address this challenge and do so quickly. Agencies and departments throughout state government that provide vital services need time to adjust their budgets. School districts have to make decisions before the start of another year. Universities and other areas that depend on us need time to plan.
By law, the legislature and I must approve a new budget. So, I will be a calling a special session, starting June 15, to take on that challenge. In the next few days, I will be issuing the official call for the special session and announcing my budget proposal for the General Assembly’s consideration. There will be pain associated with further spending reductions, on top of the nearly $600 million we’ve already cut in the past 18 months. But that’s no different than what families across the Commonwealth also are facing. Our priorities will be holding the line on taxes for working families already struggling to make ends meet; maintaining investments in our school children; preserving commitments to the health care needs of our most vulnerable and the safety of our people.
Now, once again, is the time for us to come together as leaders, regardless of party label, position or branch of government. We must make tough decisions that are fiscally responsible, while being mindful that tough times will not end with this budget. The consensus group’s planning estimate for the next biennium makes clear that we are in the midst of a significant three-year budget challenge. How we handle this coming year’s budget will, in large part, determine what resources we have to deal with future budget challenges.
I’m confident that, as before, we will come together in the best interests of our state and our people.”