Friday, January 23, 2009

State budget a la mode

Here's a pie chart now being served at Kentucky's new financial transparency site, and here are are a few things I notice.

First, this pie is the full $24 billion the state appropriates, rather than the $9-and-a-half billion we call the General Fund. The Road Fund is well over $1 billion. Federal funds are close to $8 billion, and restricted funds more than $5 billion. The tobacco settlement contributes about $140 million.

Second, if you look at the two education slices, you'll probably want to look at both again. Is postsecondary really bigger than P-12 education? Well, yes and no.

The complete budget is not just state tax dollars: it includes fees people pay to the state, including students' tuition at public universities and at KCTCS. That's in the restricted funds I mentioned earlier.

And then, the budget is just dollars in state accounts, so it does not include local tax revenue that supports P-12 education. The local ingredients add about $1.5 billion to school funding. If we could add that into the pie, it would change all the other slices a bit.

It's sweet to see important numbers displayed clearly, and I look forward to seeing else is cooking with the state's new effort to share financial information.


  1. I was surprised that higher ed is a larger slice of the pie that elementary and secondary, using just state sources. When you add all sources to both categories (local revenue, tuition, private and federal grants) how do the two sectors compare?

  2. Excellent question, Professor Weston!

    My ballpark sense is that elementary and secondary running on $6 billion and postsecondary running on $5 billion.

  3. The pie is very informative and easy to understand. It does make me wonder what constitutes the "all other" content.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!