Treasurer Allison Ball announced in an interview that she has a set of priority bills that would return 100% of her remaining general fund and road fund appropriations back to the legislature, creating the ability to permanently operate the Treasury without the need for taxpayer funded appropriations annually. Current year general fund and road fund appropriations total over $2.5 million.
“For the past year, my staff and I have strategized for ways to help the pension and funding crisis in the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Treasurer Ball said. “After much research and due diligence, I developed a plan to fund the Treasury entirely with restricted funds from unclaimed property, returning 100% of remaining taxpayer appropriations back to the General Assembly.”
Fifty percent of Treasury operations are currently funded through restricted funds. This change in the structure would enable Treasurer Ball to return all remaining general fund and road fund appropriations for the fiscal year, as well as enable the Treasury to operate without general fund or road fund appropriations in the future.
“Every elected official has a responsibility to be creative in solving Kentucky’s financial crisis,” Treasurer Ball said. “These bills would return to the General Assembly more money to help make better decisions. As Treasurer, I understand that every dollar counts. I am willing to do my part.”
The companion bills, SB 76 and HB 88, are sponsored in the Senate by Wil Schroder, a Republican who represents Bracken, Campbell, and Pendleton Counties, and in the House of Representatives by Ken Fleming, a Republican from Louisville.
“I think this is a great step in the right direction to fix our looming financial crisis,” Sen. Schroder said. “As a member of the Senate A&R committee, I know how important this upcoming budget is. I am proud to be the lead sponsor in the Senate on this issue.”
“I believe this is the kind of creativity the people of Kentucky elected us to use when solving tough challenges,” Rep. Fleming said. “As soon as Treasurer Ball mentioned this to me, I knew it was an idea I wanted to both support and sponsor.”
This bill would not change how unclaimed property is currently delivered to Kentuckians. Treasurer Ball stated that the funding structure will be carefully set up according to parameters developed over the last year to ensure all claimants will be paid for their claims.
“We have returned over $50 million in unclaimed property over the last two years—the largest amount in any two-year period of Treasury history,” Treasurer Ball said. “Returning record amounts of unclaimed property continues to be a top priority. This legislation will free up general fund and road fund dollars in a difficult budget year. Money that was previously appropriated to the State Treasury can now be put towards pension liabilities and road improvements in the Commonwealth.”