House speaker predicts austere Kentucky budget due to virus

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne says economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak will force lawmakers to scale back state spending plans. He is forecasting an austere state budget. He told reporters Thursday that proposed pay raises for teachers and state employees are now unlikely. He said increases in the state’s main funding formula for K-12 schools are in jeopardy. House and Senate budget negotiators are crafting a final spending plan. Lawmakers are bracing for a sharp downturn in state tax collections as many Kentucky businesses have closed and others scaled back due to efforts to curb the virus’s spread.