With the 2024 General Assembly now less than a month away, the Kentucky Together coalition, which includes education, faith, health care, labor and community organizations, began a public education campaign today with an important message: Kentuckians need a budget that delivers for them, and Frankfort has the resources to make that happen.
“With $3.7 billion already piled up in the state’s so-called ‘rainy day fund’ and more than a billion dollars being added to the fund every year, lawmakers can easily afford a budget in the 2024 legislative session that meets significantly more of Kentuckians’ pressing needs,” said Jason Bailey, Executive Director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, a member of the Kentucky Together coalition.
As part of its campaign for a budget that delivers for the people, Kentucky Together relaunched its website, which now includes a partial list of the many needs Kentuckians face after too many years of inadequate budgets. Among those needs are an increase in core school funding to address the teacher and bus driver shortage and widening school funding inequity, additional money for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to address the housing crisis ranging from our cities to flood-impacted eastern Kentucky, and funding for higher education, mental health, drug treatment and support for people with disabilities.
The website also includes a way for Kentuckians to contact their lawmakers and ask them to prioritize funding for critical needs. A total of $5 billion is expected in the rainy day fund by next summer, an amount that far exceeds what is necessary to protect against the next downturn. And merely passing a continuation budget for the next two years that leaves out pressing needs would result in billions more being added unnecessarily in that fund.
“The recurring money that is piling up in the rainy day fund each year presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make real improvements across the commonwealth,” said Bailey. “We can prioritize delivering for our communities with these available funds and make strides toward a Kentucky where everyone can thrive.”
Learn more at KentuckyTogether.org
To learn more about the balance growing in the rainy day fund, read our recent piece in the Courier Journal.
The Kentucky Together coalition includes the:
Advocacy Action Network
Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center
Center for Accessible Living
Community Action Council
Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky
Jefferson County Teachers Association
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
Kentucky Association of School Superintendents
Kentucky Association of Transportation Engineers
Kentucky Association of School Councils
Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Kentucky Council of Churches
Kentucky Center for Economic Policy
Kentucky Conservation Committee
Kentucky Education Association
Kentucky Environmental Foundation
Kentucky Equal Justice Center
Kentucky Government Retirees
Kentucky Mental Health Coalition
Kentucky Public Retirees
Kentucky Retired Teachers Association
Kentucky State AFL-CIO
Kentucky Sustainable Business Council
Kentucky Transportation Employees’ Association
Kentucky Voices for Health
Kentucky’s Voice for Early Childhood
National Association of Social Workers — Kentucky
National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU
Owensboro NAACP Branch 3107
The Women’s Network
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 227