Kentucky lawmakers argue over how to use money from American Rescue Plan

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 10:32 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Around $2.4 billion should be coming to Kentucky from the American Rescue Plan that President Biden signed into law.

As of right now, the money from the rescue plan is not set to be used in the budget that was sent to Governor Beshear’s desk by the General Assembly on Monday.

Senate President Robert Stivers said he wants to see if the federal government sends guidance for how that money should be used before any decisions are made.

As of right now, funding included in the state’s budget plan will be going towards things like:

  • Kentucky roads
  • Bluegrass Station Airport, and Airpark in Lexington
  • Sending Coal Severance Money to coal-producing counties at higher percentages
  • And $4.1 million in federal funds for pandemic relief programs.

Governor Beshear and some Democrats in the state legislature pushed for bold decisions with this budget so the economic recovery could really kick start and say that this budget falls flat.

But many Republican lawmakers elected to save most of that money for the future and adopted more of a hold-the-line approach.

“So, we need to make big investments for the future of the commonwealth,” said Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-budget chairman. “Not like a kid who just got $20 from grandma in their birthday card.”

“We have a huge influx of money from the American Rescue Plan. That should free up state resources to do some more bold things that continue to help people,” said Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville.

Governor Beshear has 10 days to approve or veto parts of the budget. He’s said he hopes to work with lawmakers on developing a plan for that $2.4 million influx before the legislative session ends on March 30.

If no decision is made, then that money would likely be appropriated in a special session, which only the governor can call.

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