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Beshear highlights budget concerns and touts economic growth at Louisville chamber event

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear shakes hands with Louisville business leaders before speaking at an event for Greater Louisville Inc., Metro’s chamber of commerce.
Sylvia Goodman
Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear shakes hands with Louisville business leaders before speaking at an event for Greater Louisville Inc., Metro’s chamber of commerce.

Kentucky’s Democratic governor discussed his concern with the GOP-led budget proposal and called on the business community to prioritize universal pre-K at an event with Louisville’s chamber of commerce.

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear says the legislature’s Republican-led budget proposal doesn’t invest enough in public education.

“We have never had more money to invest ever in Kentucky. We’ve just come off the three biggest budget surpluses in state history,” Beshear said Monday while speaking with Greater Louisville Inc,. Metro’s chamber of commerce. “That means we have the dollars, we just have to make the decisions.”

The second term governor has long called for universal teacher raises and a teacher loan forgiveness program. He is also a proponent for universal pre-K, which he says is vital to solving the state’s substantial childcare woes. Beshear acknowledged Monday there’s a chance it won’t happen this session.

Universal pre-K has not been an element of any of the GOP budget drafts thus far, and Republican leadership has shown little appetite for the idea. Beshear asked for the help of the business community Monday to push for the investment down the line.

“If we don't get it in this session, my hope is that [Greater Louisville Inc.], our state Chamber, and your companies will consider making it your number one priority in the next budget session,” Beshear told Louisville business leaders.

The legislature is in the final stages of the budget crafting process this week. Currently, representatives from both legislative chambers are meeting in a conference committee to agree on a final version to send to the governor.

At the same time, Beshear emphasized economic development in the state, and said the state needs to continue investing big to maintain momentum.

Beshear also criticized what he called legislative “micromanagement.” The budget proposals require every cabinet secretary, education commissioner and agency head in the executive branch to submit “comprehensive reports” on semi-annual or quarterly bases.

He specifically pointed to the Kentucky Talent Attraction Initiative, which received $7.5 million in the 2025 fiscal year. But all contracts require the legislature’s approval and also require a working group of lawmakers the year before its implementation.

“It's the type of micromanagement that we're seeing in a lot of different pieces, and that will hold us back,” Beshear said. “The legislature creates policy; the executive branch executes it. Let's just all do our jobs.”

State government and politics reporting is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Sylvia is the Capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio, a collaboration including Louisville Public Media, WEKU-Lexington, WKU Public Radio and WKMS-Murray. Email her at sgoodman@lpm.org.
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