Steve Beshear on Government Reform
I cut my own pay and we balanced our budget
I was Governor of Kentucky from 2007 to 2015. Now, I'm a private citizen. I grew up in Kentucky in a small town called Dawson Springs. My dad and granddad were Baptist preachers. My family owned a funeral home and my wife Jane and
I have been married for almost 50 years. I became governor at the start of the global recession and after eight years, we left things a lot better than we found them.
By being fiscally responsible--I even cut my own pay--we balanced our budget and turned deficits into surpluses, without raising taxes.
We cut our unemployment rate in half. We made huge gains in high school graduation rates and we found health coverage for over half a million Kentuckians.
Source: 2017 State of the Union address to Congress
, Feb 28, 2017
Smart Government: sell surplus land, buildings and vehicles
The biggest challenge is finding the resources we need to strengthen our core. After inheriting a global recession, we spent five years bringing common sense to state spending--and we've done so in three ways:
Source: 2013 State of the State speech to Kentucky Legislature
, Feb 6, 2013
- Cuts. We reduced the state budget
13 times in five years, cutting spending by $1.6 billion and trimming the state workforce to its smallest size in nearly four decades. Some agencies have been slashed up to 38%.
- We found more efficient ways to run daily operations.
Through our multi-year Smart Government Initiative, we've realized both one-time windfalls and annual savings by selling surplus land, buildings and vehicles, consolidating offices, renegotiating contracts and bids, and changing how we buy goods
- And we made revolutionary changes to huge budget drains--closing a state prison as part of a wider Corrections reform, privatizing Medicaid and reining in benefits for public employees.
6-day furlough for state workers; cut top staff salaries 10%
Talking about shrinking government is easy. Actually doing it requires courage and commitment. Faced with crushing shortfalls, we have balanced Kentucky's budget eight times in three years, slashing over a billion dollars in spending.
We have reduced
the executive branch to its smallest size in decades, including a reduction in the so-called non-merit work force by an additional $5 million, starting at the highest levels. In my own office, six of the most important jobs--including budget director and
chief of staff--are being performed by three people. Perks like take-home cars are a thing of the past. And when we made the tough decision to save $24 million by furloughing most state workers for 6 days, we included my entire staff. I'm taking the 6
days without pay myself, & I also voluntarily cut my own salary an additional 10%--as have my top staff and cabinet secretaries. My message to the people of the state is this: We are in this together. We will share your sacrifice because we work for you.
Source: 2011 Kentucky State of the State Address
, Feb 1, 2011
Comprehensive ethics package to restore trust
It is critical that trust and credibility be restored if we’re to accomplish anything else. That’s why I announced just last week a comprehensive ethics package that includes a Constitutional amendment to limit a Governor’s power to pardon. It reduces th
Governor’s influence in making appointments to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission and requires more disclosure of donations to a public official’s legal defense fund while banning lobbyists and those doing business with the State from contributing.
Source: Kentucky 2008 State of the State Address
, Jan 14, 2008
Campaign spending limits with reduced TV rates
Beshear supports the following principles concerning campaign finance reform:
Source: Congressional 1996 National Political Awareness Test
, Nov 1, 1996
- Pass legislation that would encourage full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information.
Beshear adds, “Spending limits with reduced TV rates for complying candidates.”
Page last updated: Jul 26, 2017