FRANKFORT, Ky. — Today, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on economic development growth; September’s strong General Fund receipts; his administration’s response to historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky; Western Kentucky tornado relief; preventing youth crime grant awards; COVID-19 and monkeypox; a website for food safety; child tax credit sign-ups and medical cannabis. He also named the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and those working in our manufacturing sector this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.
Economic Development Update
The Governor highlighted five economic development projects that will create more than 420 new jobs and that represent nearly $40 million in new investment.
Today, Gov. Beshear congratulated VITRONIC Machine Vision Ltd., which develops innovative machine vision technology for a range of industries – including automotive, logistics and traffic enforcement – as company leaders celebrate the grand opening of a new Customer Collaboration Center and an expansion of its Louisville facility. As part of the company’s growth plan, 35 to 50 new, highly skilled employees are being hired in fields such as engineering, sales and marketing.
“It is very good opportunity for us to be part of this growth that happens here in Kentucky,” said Daniel Scholz-Stein, group CEO of VITRONIC Machine Vision. “We have a global presence, but the U.S. has always been a very important market for us. We have been here since 1999. It has always been a pleasure to work in Kentucky and to serve the U.S. market.”
“We are focused on best-in-class machine vision technology. We are involved in smart mobility, logistics automation, automotive electric vehicles and health care,” said Kjell Lyngstad, president and CEO of VITRONIC North America. “We have been here in Louisville since 1999 when we established our first global subsidiary outside of Germany. That is what established our presence in Kentucky. We have been growing since then.”
Yesterday, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, along with federal, state and local officials, joined executives from Flash Steelworks Inc. to break ground on a new steel manufacturing facility in Middlesboro. Over the next 15 years, Flash Steelworks will invest $12.1 million and create 250 full-time jobs at an hourly rate of $39, including benefits. Of those, 100 new jobs are expected to be created in the next three years.
Tuesday, Gov. Beshear highlighted growth in the state’s healthcare sector as eBlu Solutions, which provides software for clients within the industry, announced plans to relocate its corporate office in Louisville with a nearly $700,000 investment, creating 82 full-time jobs for Kentuckians.
Also on Tuesday, the Governor announced further momentum of Kentucky’s bourbon and spirits industry as Jackson Purchase Distillery LLC, a startup bourbon producer, will increase its distilling operation investment in Fulton County to nearly $26 million and create 54 full-time jobs.
September General Fund Receipts
The Governor announced that State Budget Director John Hicks reported September’s General Fund receipts are the third highest revenue month ever, with revenues of more than $1.4 billion. This is the seventh month this year in which collections have exceeded $1 billion.
“The increases show that Kentucky continues to have strong business and job growth and that Kentuckians are confident in our economy,” said Gov. Beshear.
Eastern Kentucky Flood Update
Gov. Beshear provided an update on Eastern Kentucky’s stabilization and rebuilding efforts following July’s historic floods. The Governor said the number of fatalities has risen to 43. This increase is due to losses reported out of Letcher and Breathitt counties.
More than $76.5 million in grants have been approved under the Federal Emergency Management Agency Individuals and Households Program for 8,050 households. The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Oct. 28. Over $53.7 million has been approved under the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Department for Community Based Services received approval from the federal Food and Nutrition Service to allow flood survivors in Eastern Kentucky to purchase hot food with SNAP benefits until Nov. 1. The counties approved for hot food waivers with SNAP benefits include Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Wolfe and Whitley. For assistance, call 885-306-8959 or go to kynect.ky.gov.
The Governor said that Kentucky State Parks are currently housing 276 people. Since last Thursday, 21 individuals have transitioned out of state parks. Currently, 532 individuals are being housed in 200 travel trailers.
To date, the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has raised over $10 million from more than 37,000 donors. The Governor highlighted and thanked the Four Roses Distillery, which donated over $320,000. To contribute, click here.
Gov. Beshear also thanked Coach John Calipari and his wife, Ellen, who donated $10,000 to the Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund. This year, the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball annual Blue-White Game will be held in Pikeville at Kentucky’s Appalachian Wireless Arena Oct. 22. A $100 donation to the TeamEKYFloodReliefFund.ky.gov will sponsor a flood survivor to attend the Blue-White Game. All ticket revenue will be donated to the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund.
“Thanks to the University of Kentucky and the men’s basketball program for bringing this game to Eastern Kentucky. The first time the game has left Lexington in over 30 years,” said Gov. Beshear. “We know there will be a big crowd to cheer on the cats and continue to raise money in support recovery in Eastern Kentucky.”
For other information regarding flooding in Eastern Kentucky, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.
Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund
The Governor also announced that gift cards will be distributed to new homeowners and volunteers in Western Kentucky. Over $14,000 in gift cards have been collected. The gift cards to grocery stores and home improvement stores will be part of a welcome package to help families who are moving into new homes funded by the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund. Donated restaurant gift cards will be provided to workers assisting with the remodeling and reconstruction of damaged properties.
At least 300 homes will be built in Western Kentucky in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, the Fuller Center, and Homes and Hope for Kentucky. Over 50 will be completed by the end of the year.
EKSAFE and WKYSAFE Fund Awards
Today, the Governor announced another $3.1 million in awards from the Eastern Kentucky SAFE Fund to communities and public entities to support recovery efforts in counties impacted by the late July floods. Payments going out this week include:
- $100,000 to the City of Hindman to help ease the financial strain and provide funds to support general government expenses;
- $5,000 to the City of Paintsville to relieve financial resources (fiscal liquidity); and
- $3 million to the Perry County Fiscal Court to relieve financial resources (fiscal liquidity).
The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management has issued almost $4.4 million in payments from the nearly $213 million dollars appropriated for the Eastern Kentucky SAFE Fund.
Gov. Beshear also announced more awards from the Western Kentucky SAFE Fund, including:
- $24,440 to the Princeton Water District to cover the FEMA-required applicant share of repair projects, and
- $34,670 to Taylor County for non-FEMA eligible debris removal.
To date, more than $78.3 million in West Kentucky SAFE funds have been sent to cities, counties, eligible utilities and school districts in Western Kentucky to help ease the financial strain as they repair and replace damaged infrastructure and remove debris and rubble following the destruction of last December’s tornadoes.
$4.6 Million to Support Economic Opportunity, Job Growth in Western Kentucky
Tuesday, Gov. Beshear announced more than $4.6 million in Delta Regional Authority funding to support eight projects that will create or retain 57 jobs, train 36 Kentuckians and improve the lives of nearly 6,000 families across Western Kentucky.
Child Tax Credit Sign-Up
Gov. Beshear said Kentucky families who did not file taxes in 2019 and 2020 still have time to check their eligibility and sign up for the Child Tax Credit under the American Rescue Plan Act. Those who missed the Child Tax Credit payments during 2021 can visit GetCTC.org through Nov. 15 and file a simplified tax return to get the full credit. Each qualifying household can receive up to $3,600 per child under six years old and up to $3,000 per child between six and 17 years old. Anyone who has a child with a Social Security number is eligible. This is not a loan and does not change public benefits received.
Preventing Youth Crime Grant Awards
Wednesday, the Governor and the Department of Juvenile Justice awarded $354,666 in grant funding to public agencies and nonprofit programs through the Title II Formula Grants Program, administered by the United States Department of Justice. The federal government makes this grant available to assist state and local governments in reducing juvenile crime by preventing justice system involvement or intervening with first-time and non-serious offenders to divert contact with the juvenile justice system.
Health Updates: COVID-19 and Monkeypox
Gov. Beshear said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, patients in the ICU, patients on ventilators and COVID-19-related visits per day have decreased. Gov. Beshear continued to urge eligible Kentuckians to get the new booster shots to protect against COVID-19. Yesterday, the FDA authorized the bivalent booster for children five years of age and older. Locations and appointments can be found on vaccines.gov.
“We are solidly now in the living with COVID-19 phase. Living with COVID-19 does not mean that COVID-19 is gone. We still sadly announce 60 to 80 deaths every week from COVID-19. It will still be the third leading cause of death in Kentucky this year,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “The single most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe from severe illness and death is get vaccinated.”
A total of 63 cases of monkeypox have been reported in Kentucky from 15 different counties. All cases have occurred in adults. Anyone who is concerned they may have symptoms of monkeypox or who may have been exposed to the monkeypox virus should talk to their health care provider. Anyone who is eligible for the vaccine should contact their local health department to identify options for obtaining the vaccine.
Food Safety Website Announcement
Today, in keeping with his priorities to improve public health and safety in the commonwealth, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health Dr. Steven Stack announced the launch of a new website – FoodSafetyReporting.ky.gov – where Kentuckians can easily report foodborne issues. The website also allows state public health officials to get the necessary information more efficiently, and in return, allows for quicker action to prevent others from becoming sick.
Medical Cannabis Update
Today, Gov. Beshear said that even though 90% of Kentucky adults support legalizing medical cannabis, legislation on medical cannabis failed before the General Assembly in the last session, leaving those suffering from Alzheimer’s, ALS, cancer, severe and chronic pain, epilepsy and seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions without access to medical cannabis for relief.
With so many in need, in April, Gov. Beshear outlined steps his administration would take on this important topic: analyzing options under the law that the Governor could consider regarding executive action on medical cannabis; establishing a Medical Cannabis Advisory Team; and inviting Kentuckians to communicate with the administration directly, via a designated email. The Governor published a summary of the committee’s work last month, which showed that Kentuckians overwhelmingly support medical cannabis.
The Governor said he was not briefed before the President’s decision last week to pardon some federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana and ask states to do the same for state-level charges. The Governor explained that there are differences between federal and state law and said his administration will be taking the time to analyze this information before the next steps are announced.
Gov. Beshear also said he asked the Administrative Office of the Courts for more information on how many Kentuckians could be eligible for a state pardon on a possession-only charge.
“Let me be clear, I agree that no one should be in jail simply because of possession of marijuana,” Gov. Beshear said. “I know the vast majority of Kentuckians demand medical cannabis be legalized, and I am committed to keeping Kentuckians updated as we review the information and make plans to move forward.”
The Governor also encouraged Kentuckians who have a misdemeanor charge for simple possession of marijuana to visit the Governor’s website and apply for a pardon.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
The Governor named the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. KAM works with educators and manufacturers to provide training and seminars to ensure a world-class workforce for manufacturers in Kentucky.
“Through partnering with the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, we are building a foundation that allows not only our growing manufacturing sector to continue to thrive, but also allows our hard-working Kentuckians to prosper,” said Gov. Beshear. “Thank you, KAM, for your hard work and for keeping this sector moving forward.”
Gov. Beshear proclaimed October as Manufacturing Month in the commonwealth, highlighting a sector that employs nearly 250,000 Kentuckians across 5,000 operations. Since the start of the Beshear administration, manufacturing projects have contributed to 475 private-sector new-location and expansion announcements that are creating more than 25,300 full-time jobs for Kentuckians with over $18 billion in new investment.