COVID-19 taking toll on state budget

Posted at 5:46 PM, Apr 30, 2020

FRANKFORT (LEX 18) — Governor Andy Beshear announced 4,708 COVID-19 cases and 240 coronavirus-related deaths in the state of Kentucky.

Thursday's numbers include 174 new cases and five new deaths. Of the 4,708 cases, there have been 1,675 recoveries.

Kentucky's office of state budget and the director issued a quarterly report that predicts a very significant shortfall in the state budget.

Through this fiscal year, which runs until the end of June, is anywhere between $319-$496 million.

Additionally in the road fund, the shortfall could be between $100-$200 million.

"These are significant, especially at the end of a fiscal year, and it suggests that next year is going to be very difficult," said Beshear.

This could effect education, public safety, and more important programs that are critical, especially for those that live paycheck-to-paycheck.

"In a time when public benefits and assistance has never been more important, this is a real threat," said Beshear. "Not just to where we are right now, but it's a real threat to helping us rebuild."

Without federal assistance, Governor Beshear says the recession will be longer and unemployment will be greater.

Governor Beshear added that all 50 governors are pushing, lobbying and pressing the federal government and congress to include direct budget assistance to state and local governments that are facing the same thing.

There are still 9,000 claims from the month of March that are still waiting to be resolved.

Governor Beshear reiterated the additional businesses that can begin to reopen during Phase I of Healthy at Work:

May 11th
-Vehicle or Vessel Dealerships
-Professional Services (50%)
-Horse Racing (No Fans)
-Dog Grooming/Boarding

May 20th
-Houses of Worship

May 25th
-10 Person Social Gatherings (While Social Distancing)
-Barbers, salons, cosmetology businesses, and similar services

The 10 rules these businesses must follow in order to reopen are listed below:

-Continue telework where possible
-Phased return to work
-Onsite temperature/health checks
-Universal masks and any other necessary PPE
-Close common areas
-Enforce social distancing
-Limit face-to-face meetings
-Sanitizer/hand washing stations
-Special accommodations
-Testing plan