Kentucky Governor Vetoes Education Budget, Signs Pension Changes

By Daarel Burnette II — April 11, 2018 1 min read
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In a move that further outraged the state’s teachers already upset over budget cuts and their pay, Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin this week vetoed the state budget and a series of tax increases, and signed a controversial pension bill into law.

Reaction in the state to those actions was swift.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit Wednesday morning in order to block the pension bill from going into effect.

And the state’s teachers said this Friday that members will converge on the state Capitol in order to urge the legislature to override Bevin’s veto of the budget, which would have resulted in more spending for the state’s schools. The rally will likely cause a series of school closures in the state.

The tax increases would have prevented $487 million in cuts for the state’s schools and the state’s budget would have provided around $4,000 per student.

In vetoing the budget, Bevin said earlier this week that he doesn’t trust the budget’s revenue projections and argued that the new taxes tucked into the budget would not be enough to pay for the new spending.

"[In] a budget that has hundreds of millions of dollars in spending that we really can’t afford to spend ... the reality is the money is not there,” he said. “That is not responsible. That is not wise.”

The pension law, which has most upset the state’s teachers, preserves most benefits for current and retired teachers but moves new hires into a hybrid pension and 401K plan that puts less risk on the state.

Beshear, the attorney general, said the law was raced through the state’s legislature, not made available for the public to read until after lawmakers approved it, and was never given a financial analysis to determine how it would affect the state’s beleaguered pension system.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.