Gov. Matt Bevin covered lots of ground in last night’s State of the Commonwealth and Budget address. That included a glimpse into the future funding of corrections and higher education.
Most lawmakers in the House chamber expected Bevin to talk about pensions. And he did, saying his budget fully funds state employee and teacher pension plans. But, Bevin also delved into other topics such as taking a hard line on new prison construction. “Certainly no budget I’m going to put forward, no budget that I’m going to be putting my stamp of approval on, we’re not going to invest another dollar into building another prison here in Kentucky,” said Bevin.
The governor says improving rehabilitation facilities can help that happen.
Among those watching from the gallery last night was Council on Postsecondary Education President Bob King. He says higher ed officials were briefed on the governor’s plan to invest $300 million to address campus building needs. “We had asked in the budget request for double that and we weren’t sure we would get anything, so getting half of what we requested, we’re pretty pleased with it,” said King.
Under the governor’s plan, the university community would match to state’s appropriation.
King says the governor’s proposed cut of 6.25 percent for operations was better than what university leaders feared.