Call to Order and Roll Call
The1st meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue was held on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, at 1:30 PM, at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center . Representative Steven Rudy, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Christian McDaniel, Co-Chair; Representative Steven Rudy, Co-Chair; Senators Ralph Alvarado, Danny Carroll, David P. Givens, Stan Humphries, Gerald A. Neal, Dennis Parrett, Wil Schroder, Brandon Smith, Stephen West, and Max Wise; Representatives Rocky Adkins, Regina Bunch, Tim Couch, Ken Fleming, Kelly Flood, David Hale, Brian Linder, Suzanne Miles, Jason Nemes, Phillip Pratt, Jody Richards, Sal Santoro, Arnold Simpson, Jim Stewart III, James Tipton, Jim Wayne, Russell Webber, Susan Westrom, and Jill York.
Guests: Brad Montell, Deputy Secretary and Jessica Fletcher, Director of Communications, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet; John Bevington, Deputy Commissioner and Caroline Baesler, General Counselor, Cabinet for Economic Development
Brad Montell, Deputy Secretary, Education and Workforce Development discussed the Work Ready Skills Initiative. He explained that $98.9 million have been awarded to 40 projects expected to provide top of the line training to more than 47,000 Kentuckians annually in five core sectors. With the $98.9 million awarded, an additional $146.2 million in matching funds have been awarded. There are more than $500 million in requests unfunded.
Deputy Secretary Montell explained that in 2016 the legislature allocated approximately $15 million for each student within the commonwealth to achieve up to two courses in a postsecondary credit tuition free in the dual credit program. The results show that before the dual credit scholarship there were only 17,732 students enrolled, and after the scholarship there were 26,726 enrolled in the program. In 2016, approximately 50,000 students graduated from public high schools; of that total, about 60 percent, or 30,000, students elected to attend some sort of postsecondary education. The remaining 40 percent elected not to enroll in any form of postsecondary education after graduation.
Deputy Secretary Montell stated that in December 2016, Governor Bevin allocated $16 million for the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program to meet the increasing demand for skilled workers in five of Kentucky’s fastest growing workforce industries; advanced manufacturing; business and information technology; construction trades; healthcare; and transportation and logistics. The scholarship will pay up to 32 hours to reach the certification. This is a last dollar scholarship, which means that the student would need to apply for the FASFA and federal dollars first and then whatever was left over the state would fund out of this scholarship.
In January there was a reorganization of the Office of Educational Technology offices. There were originally 40 offices and now are 12 hubs and eight satellite offices. The reason for the reorganization was twofold—budgetary, because the office was running approximately a $5 million deficit; and the need to centralize staff for better service to the Commonwealth.
Deputy Secretary Montell stated that in 2012 the Commonwealth was approximately $1 billion in debt to the federal government with the unemployment insurance trust fund. As of June 2017, the Commonwealth had paid off the debt and has a positive balance of $425.2 million in the trust fund.
In response to a question from Chairman McDaniel, Deputy Secretary Montell explained that dual credit scholarships are awarded to schools that accept KEES scholarship money.
In response to a question from Representative Wayne, Deputy Secretary Montell explained that the work ready scholarship will not pay for remediation classes. The scholarship pays for skills training.
Review of recent Economic Development awards
John Bevington, Deputy Commissioner, Caroline Baesler, General Counsel, Cabinet for Economic Development discussed the top three awarded Economic Development projects.
Ms. Baesler stated that Governor Bevin has laid out the mission statement for the Commonwealth to become the hub of engineering and manufacturing excellence. She explained that Secretary Gill and Governor Bevin have travelled the United States and internationally to build and solidify relationships with partners that are not located in Kentucky.
Mr. Bevington explained that the Economic Development Cabinet has set numerous goals to make the Commonwealth a successful business hub. The goals are to: surpass the highest level of announced capital investment, which currently is $5.1 billion, and announce more than 17,000 new jobs; move the Commonwealth into the top quartile of business friendly state rankings; establish a more integrated workforce delivery system within the cabinet, including talent, attraction and retention; and build out the Commonwealth’s entrepreneurial community.
Mr. Bevington stated that the three top investments this fiscal year are: Toyota - $1.3 billion investment, which includes machines, equipment, and retooling; and approximately 7,800 jobs solidified; Amazon - $1.5 billion investment, which includes a land lease and building construction, and 2,700 jobs added; and Braidy Industries - $1.3 billion investment for building construction, equipment, land, and construction operation and 550 new jobs.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting was adjourned.