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Op-Ed: Cuts Approved in General Assembly Will Result in Layoffs, Hurt Vital Programs

Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, Minority Whip Wilson Stone, and I (Minority Caucus Chair) were excluded from conference committee meetings on the budget last week because of partisan politics. So when the budget was finally unveiled, just a few hours before we were asked to vote on it, there was no time to analyze the impact it would have upon the citizens and public education.

What we did understand was that taxes were raised on those who could least afford it while giving tax cuts to the rich.

I voted no on both the revenue measure as well as the spending portion of the budget. Here is a sample of the impactful cuts as a result of the new budget that was passed by the majority party without any support from the minority:

  • Millions Cut from K-12 School Budget
  • Textbooks & learning materials
  • Tutoring for learning disabled students
  • School improvement programs
  • Teenage parent program
  • Writing program
  • Teacher improvement and training programs
  • Arts & humanities programs
  • Gifted & talented programs
  • Mathematics Achievement fund
  • Preschool programs
  • Read to Achieve
  • Environmental Education program
  • State Agency Children Program
  • Reduces SEEK formula from what passed in the House from $4,055/$4,056 to $4,000 per pupil
  • Removes dependent subsidy benefit for retired teachers
  • Major Cuts to Higher Education
  • 6.25% cut to all high education institutions
  • Cancer research and screenings (Ovarian, colon, breast, pediatric)
  • Neonatal Intensive Care unit

Other Cuts:

  • Special Olympics
  • Office of Drug Control Policy
  • Tourism
  • Tobacco Settlement Funds used to fund farmers markets, food for seniors, etc.
  • Libraries
  • Bluegrass State Games
  • Autism Training Center

These cuts, combined with already tight budgets, will result in layoffs and deep cuts to vital programs.

None of this was necessary. We were willing to meet the minority half way and work together on total tax reform, developing new revenue streams to pay off the pension debt and to passing a balanced budget that was fair to our families, schools, and vital services.

Written by Rep. Dennis Keene (D-Wilder)

Photo via Legislative Research Council