Beshear Says Upcoming Budget Will Be Toughest

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says the state’s toughest budgetary times are ahead, despite some encouraging economic signals in the country. He says it will take several more months for an improving economy to show up in tax revenues.

Speaking at today’s Louisville Forum, Beshear said federal stimulus money has helped keep the state budget afloat, but those funds are set to expire in 2010.

“That’s why right now, if you look at numbers, it looks like you’re driving off a cliff in the second year of the biennium,” said Beshear. “It’s because the stimulus money disappears. And it won’t be there. Unless, they’re already talking about doing more, but when I present a budget in January I don’t expect they will have done anything.”

Beshear says he can’t rule out government layoffs, and while he can’t promise it, he says his top priority is to keep funding for K through12 education intact.