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'Our future is now' | Beshear announces additional priorities of his budget proposal

Beshear said his proposal is a necessary investment to ensure Kentucky stays on top following a record-breaking year.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Governor Andy Beshear announced additional priorities in his upcoming budget proposal which includes investments in Kentucky's healthcare system and the state's vulnerable populations.

Beshear said his proposal, titled "Our Future is Now," is a necessary investment to ensure Kentucky stays on top following a record-breaking year.

This week, Beshear announced various pieces of his upcoming budget proposal, including nearly $2 billion in investments in education and funding new industrial development sites across the Commonwealth.

Now the governor is looking to invest in the state's healthcare system.

"The great lesson of COVID has been that everybody counts," Beshear said in a Wednesday press briefing. "If we don't look out for everyone, give them the tools that they need in a pandemic to survive, then we all suffer."

The governor is expected to release his full 2022 budget address on Thursday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. EST.

Here's what Beshear said is in his budget plan:

Fully funding Medicaid:

Addressing Kentucky's nursing shortage:

  • Allocates $6 million each year to increase the number of scholarships awarded to potential nurses.
  • Doubles the maximum award package per student from $1,500 per semester to $3,000 a semester.
  • Provides $5 million each year for five years to provide student loan forgiveness up to $3,000 annually for each year a nurse or nursing faculty member is employed in their position in Kentucky.
  • Directs $2 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State Fiscal Recovery Funds to finance a marketing and outreach program for the nursing profession to enhance recruitment.

Nursing Homes: 

  • Allocates $150 million annually to nursing homes to maintain the $29 per day reimbursement rate increase through June of 2024.

Local Health Departments:

  • Allocates $36 million through fiscal year 2024 to transform Kentucky’s local health departments.

Mental health services:

  • The governor's budget dedicates funding to implement the new 9-8-8 crisis support line, a three-digit number set to replace the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in July 2024.
  • It also dedicates $3.4 million in fiscal year 2023 and $9.9 million in fiscal year 2024 to phase in 170 additional staff to Kentucky’s Community Mental Health Centers to offer support 24/7, year-round.

Childhood cancer research:

  • Allocates $1.25 million each year to the Kentucky Pediatric Research Trust Fund’s base funding of $2.5 million for childhood cancer research.

Protecting children and families:

  • Includes a 34% increase in funding to Domestic Violence Centers, Rape Crisis Centers and Child Advocacy Centers.
  • Allocates $19.6 million each year to sustain and expand prevention services that work with families to mitigate issues when a child is at immediate risk of removal.
  • Provides a 17% rate increase for residential and therapeutic foster care providers, which serve children who require the highest quality care and aren’t yet able to be placed in a family-based setting.

Child care assistance:

  • Includes a $2 per child per day increase in the child care assistance program reimbursement rate. This one-time funding would use ARPA funds to continue the temporary increase through June 30, 2024.

Senior services:

  • Expands funding for the Kentucky Family Caregiver Program by $1 million in each fiscal year and includes additional dollars to expand the Hart-Supported Living program by $2 million in each fiscal year.
  • Allocates $36.2 million over the next two and a half years for an additional 49,000 meals per week for senior citizens, which fully meets the current needs.

Caring for Kentucky's veterans:

  • Provides $700,000 annually to increase the number of veterans benefit field representatives and nearly $300,000 each year to expand outreach.
  • Allocates $1 million in fiscal year 2024 to phase in operations at the newest state veterans center in Bowling Green.

Watch the full press conference:

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