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Gov. Beshear unveils budget investments to create, attract jobs

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Gov. Andy Beshear

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear outlined his budget plan to make game-changing investments that will help the commonwealth become a national leader by turning two years of progress into 20 years of prosperity for Kentucky’s families.

The governor noted that the state’s recent record-breaking economic growth, with more than $11.2 billion in new investments and 18,000 new full-time jobs added in 2021 alone, proves Kentucky is a destination for leading global companies like Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Pratt Industries, GE Appliances and Amazon. His budget prepares Kentucky to secure the next world-class company while aiming to provide every Kentucky region with that amazing opportunity.

The budget also makes major investments in emerging agritech and life sciences industries, as well as in critical infrastructure needed to build a better Kentucky, including roads, bridges, high-speed internet and clean drinking water. The state’s tourism sector will get a much-needed boost with investments to repair state parks and attract more visitors.

Site Identification and Development Program

The governor said making sure we don’t drop the ball on economic development momentum requires a focus on modernizing our infrastructure so we’re able to attract the next Ford- or Toyota-size project. To address this crucial need, the governor’s budget calls for $250 million in one-time funds to develop a Site Identification and Development program.

President and CEO of the Kentucky Association for Economic Development Matt Tackett said in a video message: “We are proving over and over that Kentucky is a world-class location to locate and grow a business. Our success is amazing, and it further motivates us to act. If we are to continue to move the needle, we must ready sites and buildings now to welcome new companies and new jobs to our communities.”

Agritech R&D

The governor said Kentucky also continues to lead in agritech, with AppHarvest announcing expansions in Morehead, Somerset, Berea and Richmond. Startup AppleAtcha launched this year in Inez; Fresh Harvest continues to grow in Stanford; and Enviroflight is thriving in Maysville.

The governor’s budget ensures Kentucky will be the agritech capital of the United States by including $75 million to support a state-of-the-art agritech research and development center in the heart of Eastern Kentucky.

Life Science Lab

The governor said his administration is working to attract the jobs of tomorrow through smart investments in industries with great promise.

The facility is a collaborative effort between the city, several private businesses, a regional economic development organization and higher learning institutions.

Transportation Projects

The governor said with all these businesses and employees landing in Kentucky, we must continue to improve critical infrastructure everywhere in the commonwealth.

The governor noted these are one-time funds meant to give Kentucky the flexibility to meet state match requirements for expected federal grants.

Beshear said he also was allocating $184.9 million over three years to meet a state match that will unlock nearly $774.7 million in federal money for the Highway Trust Fund.

Electric Vehicle Charging

The governor said with Kentucky taking the lead on electric vehicles, we must meet the needs of this new industry.

Water and Sewer Improvements

The governor said his new budget will expand upon his efforts to improve water and sewer systems across the commonwealth.

Talent Attraction Media Campaign

The governor said to ensure Kentucky stays competitive into the future, significant strides must be taken to attract talent to Kentucky’s workforce.

The campaign will include national outreach to recruit top talent to Kentucky and local coverage to retain talent in Kentucky.

Automotive Training

With Ford and SK Innovation committed to creating thousands of jobs building the nation’s largest vehicle battery plants, the governor said, the state needs to help bridge any skills gaps.

CDL Program

The governor’s budget also provides $700,000 each year to the Louisville Urban League for a program that trains disadvantaged Kentuckians toward obtaining a commercial driver’s license, which can open great opportunities.

Tourism

The governor said while Kentucky is now the destination for major corporations, that’s long been the truth for our outstanding tourism industry.

The governor’s budget also dedicates $10 million in ARPA funds to boost Kentucky’s tourism industry through a targeted marketing campaign, another $10 million in ARPA funds to bolster Kentucky’s travel industry and another $10 million to help nonprofit arts organizations.

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