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January 22, 2024 2:16pm

House Unveils Their 2024-26 Budget Bill

Last week the House Republicans unveiled their budget for 2024-2026. This came in the form of two major pieces of legislation, House Bill 1 (HB1), a $1.7 billion investment proposal, and House Bill 6 (HB6), a $124.8  executive branch budget bill.

HB 1 proposes to spend a portion of the budget reserve trust fund on one-time investments in a broad range of areas such as infrastructure, economic development, public safety, and public pension system liabilities. House leaders have described these as “one-time” investments and not recurring expenses. Notably, the first four lines of the bill explicitly deem these investments as not to be identified as General Fund appropriations. That phrasing keeps the $1.74 billion in spending from being considered in the revenue “trigger” that would block further reduction of the state’s personal income tax.

HB 6 outlines the proposed Executive Branch budget for the next biennium. This bill is focused on the long-term priorities of the House Majority and is fairly conservative to help ensure that the income tax reduction revenue triggers are met.

Some notable allocations between these two pieces of legislation include:

  • $75 million towards site development for economic development purposes under the Kentucky Product Development Initiative program.
  • $42 million to expand addiction treatment and reentry programs in prisons.
  • Increasing state funding of school transportation from $274 million per fiscal year to $319 million in the first upcoming fiscal year and about $359 million in the following.
  • $281 million over two years for K-12 SEEK per-pupil funding increases (including funding for full day kindergarten).
  • Funding 100 new social worker positions over the course of the next two years and allocating $15 million to increase the foster care per-diem rate.
  • $150 million for drinking and wastewater infrastructure.
  • $1.1 billion in federal funds over two years for broadband expansion

This filing is the beginning of the process that will move to the Senate and extend into late March before concluding in Conference Committee deliberations when the budget will be finalized.