Facing a $456.1 million state budget shortfall, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear along with several other state officials Monday announced that they would each cut their salaries by 10% in 2009.
The action would cut the governor’s pay to $111,945 from $124,383. Lieut. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo also agreed to the pay cut, dropping his pay to $91,437 from $101,596.
“The two of us believe that we should not ask of others without making some personal sacrifice,” Beshear said in a statement.
The governor is expected to announce a proposal this week to deal with the budget crunch that will include additional spending cuts, and may include a proposal for additional revenue if cuts are so deep that they “threaten to send the state significantly backward in critical areas of basic services,” Beshear said.
While the combined savings from 10% pay cuts would amount to $87,660, Beshear said he recognized that the action would not substantially affect the $456.1 million shortfall confronting the state in the current fiscal year.
“These are very difficult times in Kentucky and throughout America,” Mongiardo said in a statement. “All of us have suffered because of an economic downturn that is beyond our control and all of us must sacrifice to ensure that the state we love can emerge from this crisis with sound financial footing and an opportunity to move forward.”
Others taking a 10% pay cut next year are executive cabinet secretary Larry Hayes, who earns $135,500 a year; chief of staff Adam Edelen, whose pay is $130,000 annually; deputy chief of staff Vince Gabbert, whose salary is $126,000; general counsel Ellen Hesen, who receives $133,350 a year; and communications director Jay Blanton, who makes $125,000.
Beshear, a Democrat, is not likely to recommend any borrowing as part of his plan to fix the budget, or jump-start the state’s lagging economy. He told the Lexington Herald-Leader editorial board last week that he wants to avoid selling debt and being saddled with payments for years to come. He may push for an increase in the state’s cigarette tax.