KENTUCKY SENATE PASSES STRUCTURALLY BALANCED BUDGET TO FUND PENSIONS, STRENGTHEN FINANCIAL FOUNDATION

For Immediate Release
Contact: John Cox
859-492-2963
John.Cox@LRC.KY.GOV

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 23, 2016) – Addressing Kentucky’s underfunded pension systems was the top priority in the Senate’s version of House Bill (HB) 303, the state’s two-year budget, which passed the Kentucky Senate Wednesday with 27 votes.

“The major difference between the House budget and the Senate budget is that the Senate’s budget is structurally balanced, meaning we do not use one-time monies to pay for recurring expenses,” Senate President Robert Stivers said. “We dedicated more funding to KTRS than was proposed by Governor Bevin, but we also dedicated more funding in addition to the ARC payments for KRS nonhazardous than proposed by Governor Bevin and the House combined.”

While Senate Budget Chairman Chris McDaniel noted that Kentucky’s state’s pension obligation to teachers is of major importance, it also is funded at about 50 percent, or approximately three times more than that of our employee pension systems (17 percent). The Senate also sets aside $250 million for a permanent fund similar to Governor Bevin’s proposal. Of that permanent fund, $3 million would be used to commission an external performance audit of the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System, while holding the remaining $247 million to address the pensions upon completion of the audit.

“100 percent of the $250 million in the permanent fund will be used to fund our ailing pensions. The reason for waiting to spend this money is because we feel that an audit is necessary to adequately assess the issues that ail our systems,” McDaniel said. “We owe it to the taxpayers of this Commonwealth to bring in an outside party so that we can get an honest audit of this system and identify what systematic changes must be made to ensure this system is viable in perpetuity.”

The Senate budget also provides $372.5 million for the Budget Reserve Trust Fund, which is the highest amount in the Commonwealth’s history.

Additional highlights of the Senate’s budget (HB 303):

  • Included in the Kentucky Retirement Systems’ numbers is $15 million for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 and $10 million in FY 2018 for Kentucky State Police Hazardous Retirement.
  • The Senate, like Governor Bevin, did not budget to 100 percent of the revenue estimate. The Senate provides for additional contingent contributions of $67.9 million to KTRS over the 2016-2018 biennium.
  • The Senate moved all coal severance funding to the top which includes funding for Operation Unite, Save the Children, Trover Clinic, the Family Residency Program at Owensboro, and other routine items funded with coal severance. The remaining dollars are directed to the LGEAF fund which goes directly back to the county judges and fiscal court.
  • There are no single county line-item coal severance projects in the Senate budget.
  • The Senate does not change the statutory allocation between General Fund and the coal severance fund. The split remains 50-50.
  • The Senate budget mirrors the Governor’s proposal and stays true to the HB 611 from the 2000 Regular Session’s statutory allocations.
  • Constitutional Officers – The Senate agrees with Governor Bevin’s budget stabilization reductions and in certain places increases restricted fund appropriations.
  • Pharmaceutical Settlement Funds – The Senate directs $7 million to Kentucky State Police for crime lab equipment and DNA testing, provides $2.5 million to community mental health centers for mental health services, and $8 million for KTRS unfunded health liability.
  • Debt – The Governor, House and Senate had a debt ratio of approximately 5.8 percent, however, the House budget gave complete bonding authority to the state universities for agency bonded projects without the authority of the General Assembly. That provision has the potential to significantly increase the Commonwealth’s debt ratio without input for the General Assembly. The Senate removed this provision but did include authorization for the restricted fund cash projects for the public universities and KCTCS.
  • Higher Education – The Senate agrees with Governor Bevin’s budget stabilization reductions and provides equity in funding beginning in FY 2018 for Northern Kentucky University and Western Kentucky University. In addition, the Senate provided an additional $3.3 million each for the land grant match for Kentucky State University.
  • Justice Cabinet – In the midst of a heroin epidemic, the House reduced funding for heroin treatment by $12 million. The Senate restores that funding.
  • The Senate, like Governor Bevin, has a structurally balanced budget.

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Senator Ralph Alvarado Celebrates Expansion of Catalent Pharma Solutions in Winchester

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Senator Ralph Alvarado Celebrates Expansion of Catalent Pharma Solutions in Winchester, Announcement of Additional Investment

Company will create 300 additional jobs, invest $62 million

WINCHESTER, Ky. (April 15, 2015) – Catalent Pharma Solutions LLC continues to grow in eastern Kentucky. Senator Ralph Alvarado (R-Winchester) joined company officials, Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen and local leaders to cut the ribbon on Catalent’s $52-million expansion. It was also announced today that the company plans to invest an additional $62 million and add 300 more jobs to the Winchester operation.

During the recently completed project, Catalent created 140 full-time jobs and invested $52 million to add 80,000 square feet to its 100,000-square-foot facility on Enterprise Drive. The new $62-million investment, announced today, will be used to create additional square footage and renovate existing space for new equipment. Catalent plans to hire up to 300 workers, including military veterans, over the next five years.

“The Winchester facility has grown through continued investment in technical expertise and capability, an achievement made possible through our associates at Winchester,” said Barry Littlejohns, Catalent’s president of Advanced Delivery Technologies. “Our success spans many significant product launches, some of which are potentially life-saving drugs. We have a flexible business model that supports tailored solutions for our customers and that is of enduring appeal, driving increased demand for our Winchester manufacturing services and attracting both new and existing partners to manufacture.”

Catalent is the leading global provider of advanced drug delivery technologies and development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products. The company employs approximately 8,500 people, including more than 1,000 scientists at 30 facilities on five continents.

Opened in 1992, the Winchester plant currently employs more than 500 people and produces a variety of over-the-counter and prescription drugs in tablets, capsules and powders. The facility has launched more than 100 products for Catalent’s pharmaceutical and consumer health customers.

“I could not be more excited to see such a significant investment made by Catalent Pharma Solutions in my hometown of Winchester,” Alvarado said. “As a physician, it is encouraging to see this pharmaceutical company’s impact on our local economy and in Kentucky’s health care industry as a whole. The new jobs created from this investment certainly will improve the quality of life in our community and provide a landmark for future business investments in the Commonwealth.”

To encourage the new investment and job growth in Winchester, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $4.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

KEDFA also approved Catalent for tax benefits up to $700,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.

For more information on Catalent Pharma Solutions, visit www.catalent.com.

A detailed community profile for Winchester (Clark County) can be viewed here.

Senate Majority Priorities for Part 2 of #KYGA15

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015) – The Kentucky Senate Majority introduced their next five priorities bills Tuesday to kick off part two of the 2015 Legislative Session of the Kentucky General Assembly. All five bills received their first reading Tuesday:

  • Senate Bill 6 (Sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado) – creates a medical malpractice claim board to review cases against health care providers before they can be pursued in court to help stop frivolous lawsuits.
  • SB 7 (Sen. Julie Raque Adams) – requires ultrasound pictures of a woman’s unborn baby be made available to the individual considering having an abortion, if she chooses to see them.
  • SB 8 (Sen. Mike Wilson) – permits the establishment of charter schools to close the educational achievement gap and provide choices for parents.
  • SB 9 (Sen. Wil Schroder) – Reduces the cost of new school construction by exempting said schools from the “prevailing wage” requirements.
  • SB 10 (Sen. Stan Humphries) – continues the development of a stroke system of care in Kentucky that facilitates timely access to an appropriate level of care for stroke patients.  In 2006, the legislature passed a resolution that encourages the development of this system.

This Week in Social Media (Jan. 19-23)

Tweets and Facebook postings from the Senate Majority Caucus (week of Jan. 19-23, 2015):

1Higdon

Schroder 3

Harris

Alvarado 2

Schickel

12 Schroder

Givens 2

Higdon

Whitney 2

Whitney

Wise

Givens

Wise 1

Schroder 4

Carpenter

Alvarado