Gov. Beshear Marks 11th Straight Month With Revenues Over $1 Billion

Team Kentucky Update highlights good economic development news, an update on the Mountain Parkway Expansion, sports betting and more

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 10, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear celebrated continued economic strength in the commonwealth as General Fund receipts for July 2023 totaled $1.1 billion, marking the 11th straight month with revenues over $1 billion.

The Governor said this budget surplus represents a 7.1% increase compared with July 2022 receipts despite the 10% reduction in the individual income tax rate. Kentucky’s economic strength is the result of more jobs, higher wages and salaries, growth in sales revenues and continued business profits.

“We are being fiscally responsible, and we are keeping our economy booming,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are going to keep working to make sure prosperity reaches every corner of the commonwealth.”

The Governor also shared good economic news and updated Kentuckians on tourism, school resource officers (SROs), sports betting, the Mountain Parkway Expansion, the Brent Spence Bridge project and Eastern Kentucky flood recovery. The Governor also paid tribute to United States Air Force Veteran and vice-chairman of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Frank Jones Jr. and named the Breathitt County Library team as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.

Economic Development
On Tuesday, Gov. Beshear joined business owners and state tourism leaders at Lexington’s Crank & Boom Craft Ice Cream in the city’s Distillery District to announce that 2022 was the best year on record for Kentucky tourism, with $12.9 billion generated in economic impact and 91,668 jobs created. In 2022, 75.9 million travelers visited Kentucky, spending $8.9 billion across the commonwealth, surpassing pre-pandemic volumes, according to a study by Tourism Economics. The Governor said that more than $937 million in state and local taxes were generated through tourism, equating to $536 in tax savings for every Kentucky household.

Also on Tuesday, the Governor congratulated Nucor Corp. on its new power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy Resources LLC. Nucor will receive 250 megawatts of renewable energy from Sebree Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources in Henderson County. Sebree Solar is an innovative two-phase project that will have a capacity of up to 400 megawatts of American-produced solar energy.

On Wednesday, the Governor joined BlueOval SK executives to tour the BlueOval SK Battery Park in Glendale. The second battery plant has started to take shape and hourly employee hiring has begun for the 5,000 jobs being created at the two plants.

The Governor also highlighted his administration’s continued investment in workforce training initiatives, as he announced nearly $2 million in funds and credits to assist the training of nearly 7,000 Kentucky workers. The approvals were part of the first Bluegrass State Skills Corporation meeting of fiscal year 2024.

Kentucky Schools Employ Record Number of School Resource Officers
As Kentucky families begin the new school year, Gov. Beshear previewed the annual report from the Office of the State School Security Marshal.

The Governor said that the report will show that there are 685 SROs employed by Kentucky public schools, the most in state history. The report will also show that 99% of schools are in compliance with statutorily mandated access control requirements. Additionally, since the passage of the School Safety and Resiliency Act in 2019, the number of full-time school resource officers has increased by 66%.

The Governor said that since the beginning of last school year alone, there has been a 33% increase in schools with a full-time SRO on campus, and the number is expected to continue to rise during the school year.

“This report looks encouraging. We will always have more work to do, but we have made incredible strides in improving school safety,” said Gov. Beshear. “As a dad of children in public schools, I am truly grateful for the work that State School Security Marshal Ben Wilcox and his team do every day.”

“Kentucky is a leader in school safety,” said State School Security Marshal Ben Wilcox. “We have and will continue to work directly with the Kentucky Center for School Safety to get our schools where they need to be. Thank you to the Governor for your support. I’d also like to thank all the law enforcement and SROs working today and every day to protect our students.”

Sports Betting
The Governor provided Kentuckians with an update on sports betting in the commonwealth. The Governor said that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has received applications from seven of the state’s racetracks wishing to be licensed for sports wagering. The Governor also said that seven service providers have applied for a license for mobile applications. To see a full list of applicants, see the full release.

Contractor Selected To Complete Final Section of Mountain Parkway Expansion
On Tuesday, Gov. Beshear joined state transportation officials, local leaders and company executives to announce the design-build partner for the final stretch – Salyersville to Prestonsburg – of the Mountain Parkway extension. Bizzack Construction Co. has been selected as the design-build contractor that will deliver the final section of the long-awaited project.

The Governor has made expansion and extension of the Mountain Parkway a top transportation priority of his administration, and this announcement marks another major step forward in the project. To learn more, see the full release.

Update on Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project
Two weeks ago, Gov. Beshear joined Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to announce that Walsh/Kokosing has been awarded the progressive design-build contract for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project, marking a major step forward in the construction process.

Today, the Governor announced that the bi-state project team is hosting two public open houses later this month. The first open house will be Aug. 23, 4 to 7 p.m., at the Radisson Hotel in Covington. The second open house will be the following day, Aug. 24, 4 to 7 p.m., at Longworth Hall in Cincinnati. The Governor encouraged anyone who is interested to stop by and browse exhibits, review project information, talk one-on-one with members of the project team and provide comments.

“This project is going to bring jobs, opportunity and transform travel and commerce on I-71 and I-75,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are getting a project done that has only been dreamed about for decades. There’s a lot of excitement and anticipation surrounding this project and these open houses are a great way to help the public track our progress.”

Eastern Kentucky Flood Update
Gov. Beshear provided an update on recovery and rebuilding efforts in Eastern Kentucky. Currently, 71 families are housed in travel trailers, and 311 households have transitioned out of the Commonwealth Sheltering Program in Eastern Kentucky.

As of last week, FEMA has approved $1.2 million to help Floyd County homeowners move to higher ground. FEMA also approved $5.6 million for debris removal in Mayfield after the 2021 tornadoes in Western Kentucky.

The Governor also provided an update on the $212.7 million EKSAFE fund established when the Governor called the General Assembly into a special session in August 2022.

“The $65 million portion of that fund designated to help counties, cities, utilities and nonprofits recover has been almost entirely expended,” said Gov. Beshear. “I had originally asked for $125 million for this portion of the fund, and now this portion is running low, and we need to replenish it. The needs are still very significant. Counties that were impacted cannot thrive without additional funding. At the beginning of the next session of the General Assembly, I will be recommending additional funding and will ask that they put an emergency clause on it so it can be opened up immediately.”

Tribute to United States Air Force Veteran Frank Jones Jr.
Gov. Beshear paid tribute to Air Force Veteran Frank Jones Jr., who passed this week. Jones was a leader in the thoroughbred industry and also served as vice-chairman of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

“Put simply, Frank was making a difference. He was an award-winning leader, committed to helping those within this essential Kentucky industry live better lives. I was proud to call him a friend,” said Gov. Beshear. “Frank will be missed. And my prayers are with his family, friends and the entire thoroughbred industry. I think we all know Frank’s legacy will live on.”

Team Kentucky All-Stars
Gov. Beshear recognized the Breathitt County Public Library team as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.

Following last year’s deadly flooding in Eastern Kentucky, the Breathitt County Public Library opened its doors for Kentuckians to shelter. It helped Breathitt County residents research and find replacement documents such as birth and marriage certificates so they could complete FEMA claims. The library provided childcare and activities for children while their parents and caregivers applied for aid, and so much more.

Earlier this month, the Breathitt County Public Library was awarded the Library Journal and Gale’s inaugural Defying the Odds Award for their heroic efforts, receiving a $10,000 award.

“This team truly did defy the odds and I have no doubt their efforts helped so many of our Eastern Kentucky families get back on their feet so they could start recovering and rebuilding,” said Gov. Beshear. “Congratulations to the team at the Breathitt County Public Library. You truly are Team Kentucky All-Stars.”