With millions in cuts to education funding, the elimination of 70 programs and more than 6 percent cuts elsewhere in the budget, a broad-based coalition has announced they will lobby lawmakers to clean up tax breaks to raise revenue in the current legislative session.
The coalition, a diverse group of 38 organizations called Kentucky Together who represent education, public employee, retiree, health, human service and other advocacy groups who believe cutting the budget is no longer a viable solution to Kentucky’s fiscal problems.
“A decade of budget cuts have deeply strained the systems that keep us educated, healthy, safe and prosperous,” Jason Bailey, executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, a member of the coalition, said. “The current budget proposal is drastic in its cuts and it’s time for our leaders to stop letting billions slip away in tax breaks at the same time we erode our foundational public services.”
The governor’s budget includes hundreds of millions in cuts to education programs, including transportation, textbooks, teacher training programs and more.
“Local taxes are meant to supplement the primary investment in public education which must come from the state in order to achieve both adequacy and equity in every classroom. Local dollars were never meant to be the majority of a district’s funding,” said Kerri Schelling, Executive Director of the Kentucky School Boards Association. “But this budget asks far more of local districts to make up what the state is not funding and as a result, Kentucky’s children will suffer. The state has an opportunity to raise more revenue to invest in our future.”
And while there are some highlights in the governor’s budget, notably much-needed funding for pensions, public defenders and social workers, that approach needs to be applied to other crucial investments needed to build thriving communities.
“Kentucky’s investments in health – behavioral health, including mental health and substance use disorders, supports for people living with disabilities, and overall healthcare – need to grow,” said Sheila Schuster, Executive Director of the Advocacy Action Network. “We have an opportunity to make a strong statement in this budget that we value a healthier Kentucky that can grow our economy and strengthen our quality of life. We need the legislature to make the choice to increase our revenue by cleaning up special interest tax breaks so we can invest in Kentucky’s health.”
For more information about Kentucky Together, visit their website at kentuckytogether.org, follow them on Facebook at “Kentucky Together” or on Twitter at “@ky_together.”
Partners of Kentucky Together
Advocacy Action Network, Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, Appalshop, Center for Accessible Living, Children, Inc, Community Action Council, Fahe Inc., Fairness Campaign, Friedell Committee for Health System Transformation, 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, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, National Association of Social Workers — Kentucky, National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU, Operation Turnout, Owensboro NAACP Branch 3107, The Women’s Network, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 227