But it also authorizes the universities to issue bonds paid off by their own revenue streams – agency bonds as they are called – and for the first time allows the Kentucky Community and Technical College system to do the same. The KCTCS bonds will pay 75 percent of construction costs while the individual institutions will raise 25 percent of it privately. The total bonding for all post-secondary institutions is $520.3 million.
STATE EMPLOYEE RAISES: Beshear wants to increase state workers’ pay for the first time since 2009, but he would do it on sliding scale of income. Employees making up to $27,000 a year would get a 5 percent raise in the first year; those making between $27,000 and $36,000 would get a 3 percent increase. Those two groups make up about half of all state employees, Beshear said.
Those making $36,001 to $50,000 would get a 2 percent increase and those making above $50,000 would get a 1 percent increase. All state employees would get a 1 percent increase in the second year.
Beshear also wants to increase funding for judicial branch salaries for about 800 deputy clerks and others whose salaries barely rise above the federal poverty line.
PENSIONS: The budget would fully fund the increase in the actuarially required contribution or ARC for the state employees’ retirement fund required by last year’s pension reform bill: an additional $101.3 million in first year and $106.1 million in the second. It will also fund the increased pension costs for mental health/mental retardation boards and for local health departments.
MEDICAID: Budget funds General Fund increases of $65.7 million in first year of biennium and $124.2 million in the second. This is not caused by Beshear’s expansion of Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act – those costs are fully funded by the federal government in both years. It does, however, include costs of what is called the “woodwork effect,” increased enrollments under the old guidelines by people previously eligible but who only learned of their eligibility because of publicity surrounding the ACA.