Under Gov. Beshear's leadership, Kentucky is seeing record-breaking economic momentum, and in fiscal year 2022, Kentucky's General Fund receipts grew at the highest rate in 31 years.
The Office of State Budget Director reported 14.6% growth over last year and noted that General Fund receipts totaled $14.7 billion, exceeding the budgeted estimate by $945.4 million. This is the second-highest revenue surplus ever – surpassed only by last year's record amount – and the budget surplus is expected to be even higher once the books are closed on spending later this month.
The receipts show that personal income, sales and business income are all going up significantly, and even our road fund is up. Gov. Beshear's administration has now delivered the highest and second-highest revenue surpluses in the history of Kentucky, thanks to strong fiscal management and a hot, record-breaking economy.
Once the books are closed later on the fiscal year, the state's Rainy Day fund is expected to reach almost $2.7 billion. When Gov. Beshear took office, that fund was at $129 million.
The state is seeing more jobs and better wages for Kentuckians, which allow more people to put food on the table and live the lives they want and deserve.
The General Fund growth news further highlights the continued economic momentum in the commonwealth as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Kentucky's average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2021 was $24 before benefits, a 9.4% increase over the previous year.
In the past year, the Beshear administration announced the two largest economic development projects in Kentucky's history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April of this year, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
This strong economic momentum has carried over into 2022, with both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings upgrading Kentucky's financial outlook from stable to positive in recognition of the commonwealth's surging economy.
And Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky at 6th in its annual Prosperity Cup rankings for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
In April, the state reported a 3.9% unemployment rate, which was the lowest rate ever recorded. In May, the rate fell to a new record low of 3.8%.