FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 13, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the largest revenue surplus in the commonwealth’s history. The General Fund receipts for fiscal year 2023 totaled $15.1 billion, exceeding budgeted estimates by $1.4 billion.
This will be the third consecutive year with a General Fund budget surplus of more than $1 billion. Kentucky’s economic strength is the result of more jobs, higher wages and salaries, growth in sales revenues and continued business profits.
“We continue to see an economy that is on fire, all while we have lowered income and property taxes for our families,” said Gov. Beshear.
During the Team Kentucky news conference, the Governor also shared good economic news; provided an update on mental health and 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline; condemned hateful rhetoric; signed a new sports betting executive order; announced funding to support Kentucky veterans; discussed upcoming weather and Eastern Kentucky flood recovery. He also named Kentucky Transportation Cabinet employee Keith Rogers as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Star.
Gov. Beshear announced further growth of the commonwealth’s rapidly growing manufacturing and electric vehicle (EV) support industries as Hitachi Astemo Americas, one of Kentucky’s largest Tier 1 automotive suppliers, announced an expansion of its operation in Madison County with a $153 million investment creating 167 new, quality Kentucky jobs.
The Governor congratulated Harbor Steel & Supply Corp., a distributor and manufacturer of fabricated products for the steel and aluminum industries, as company and local leadership gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a new $8 million operation in Bowling Green that is creating 25 full-time jobs.
Gov. Beshear highlighted new growth in the state’s metals-related sector as Southern Coil Solutions, a leading provider of advanced coil handling and storage solutions, will invest over $27 million into a fully automated steel coil warehouse distribution and logistics center in Bowling Green that will create 30 new full-time jobs.
Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky has earned back-to-back Gold Shovel Awards from the national publication Area Development, which cited the commonwealth’s strong gains in attracting new businesses and growing jobs. The publication also named AESC, formerly known as Envision AESC, as a 2023 Manufacturing Project of the Year.
Mental Health Update
The Governor announced that, according to Mental Health America, Kentucky is ranked No. 1 in the area of adult mental health. Mental Health America collects data across all 50 states and releases its state rankings based on how many adults and youth have mental health and addiction issues and how many have access to health coverage.
“This ranking shows that the things we’ve been doing in Kentucky have been working,” said Gov. Beshear. “I am very proud of the work we have done in mental health care these past few years in the commonwealth. But the work doesn’t stop. I will continue to push for mental health services so we can continue to keep our people happier, healthier and safer.”
The Governor also noted that this Sunday, July 16, will mark the one-year anniversary of the launch of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in Kentucky. Since this free, confidential, 24/7 line launched, the state has seen a significant increase in call volume, text messages and chats, with a decrease in abandonment rates and speed to answer.
The Governor announced that over 22,000 calls have been answered since last July, an increase of 22% compared to the prior 12-month period. Currently, 81% of all calls are answered in-state at an average rate of 27 seconds, which is 5 seconds faster than the national average. There have been nearly 9,000 text messages and 9,000 online chats since the launch. And the volume for these methods of communication steadily grows each month.
Denounces Hateful Rhetoric
Today, Gov. Beshear condemned hateful rhetoric from a former gubernatorial primary candidate and encouraged other leaders to do the same.
“There is no place for these types of comments in Kentucky. They are horrific. They spur hatred and division. And they violate everything that my faith teaches me on Sunday that I’m supposed to practice every day of the week,” Gov. Beshear said. “I fully condemn each of these statements this individual made, and I call on every other elected official to do so.”
On Monday, Gov. Beshear joined the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and lawmakers to announce that Kentuckians can make their first-ever sports bets in Kentucky in less than 60 days. For more information, see the full release. To see facilities eligible to apply to be a sports betting location, click here.
Today, Gov. Beshear signed an executive order that creates a Sports Wagering Advisory Council. The council will assist in carrying out legal requirements and support the integrity of sports betting in Kentucky. Council members will include the Public Protection Cabinet secretary, three members and an employee of the Horse Racing Commission and two at-large members.
Veteran’s Program Trust Fund Grants
Gov. Beshear announced $175,000 in funding from the Veteran’s Program Trust Fund, which will go to eight organizations supporting Kentucky veterans. These organizations include:
- $25,000 to the Kentucky Historical Society for its exhibit featuring Kentucky women veterans;
- $6,000 to the Warrior Battalion, an organization in Louisville that provides veterans with financial assistance;
- $34,000 to the Kentucky Minutemen Relief Fund, which assists members of the Kentucky National Guard with housing, transportation and more;
- $13,8000 to the National Association for Black Veterans to support its “Week of Valor” events;
- $50,000 to Honor Flight Kentucky to support its mission of providing veterans with flights to visit war memorials in Washington, D.C.;
- $28,000 to Service Dog Solutions to train four service dogs that will be placed with veterans in need;
- $15,000 to Horse Sensing to support veterans who live onsite while completing the organization’s Equine Grooming Program; and
- $4,000 to Disabled American Veterans Chapter 003 for the purchase of uniforms for funeral details, posting of colors and other veteran events.
“In Kentucky, we will always honor those who fought on our behalf and in our defense. We thank those who sacrificed their time, their health and their lives,” said Gov. Beshear. “Today’s funding awards are just part of the work we are doing to support our heroic veterans.”
Upcoming Weather and Eastern Kentucky Flood Update
Gov. Beshear encouraged Kentuckians to remain weather-aware today as an approaching cold front will bring increased chances for showers and storms. Heavy rainfall, damaging winds, lightning and large hail are expected. More severe weather is expected Saturday morning throughout Saturday evening with showers and thunderstorms.
The Governor also provided an update on recovery and rebuilding efforts in Eastern Kentucky. Currently, 80 families are housed in travel trailers, and 302 households have transitioned out of the Commonwealth Sheltering Program.
Debris removal efforts on private properties are nearly complete in Breathitt, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Pike counties. As of Wednesday, July 12, contractors had removed over 5,500 tons of debris from 258 properties in those five counties.
To date, Gov. Beshear has announced three high-ground communities, including Olive Branch in Knott County, Skyview in Perry County and the Cottages at Thompson Branch in Letcher County. More high-ground communities will be announced soon.
So far, Fahe, a team that collaborates with partners to build homes, has 130 new homes and 123 rehab projects either under construction or pending work or application approval.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Last week, on a family trip to Natural Bridge, 10-year-old Andrew lost control of his bike and rode off a 15-foot cliff into a creek. Andrew is alive today thanks to the quick action of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet employee Keith Rogers. Rogers pulled the young boy out of the creek, administered first aid, retrieved the bicycle and returned it to the family. Gov. Beshear named Keith Rogers as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Star.
“Keith bravely jumped into action to save a child’s life, and we are forever grateful to him. So today, I am proud to name Keith Rogers as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Star,” said Gov. Beshear.