Deadline for Kentucky budget looms, still no agreement
Gov. Steve Beshear
Rep. Greg Stumbo
Sen. David Williams
By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email Posted by Charles Gazaway - email
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Gov. Steve Beshear has said lawmakers must pass a budget by June 1 or Kentucky could see a partial shutdown of state government impacting thousands of jobs. With the clock ticking legislators still are deadlocked, but the House Speaker says the governor could provide the key. A Beshear spokesperson says the administration is working on some sort of possible proposal.
After 60 days of talking the 2010 regular session ended in a stalemate. The House's 367 page budget called for big construction projects to create jobs. The Senate's 265 page document cut costs virtually across the board.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) predicts the Governor's office may provide the necessary compromise to break the stalemate
"I think it's highly highly likely that we would be able to have a budget that would keep his proposal, 98 or 99 percent intact," said Stumbo if the Governor has a budget proposal that includes existing revenue.
According to The Kentucky Poll, co-sponsored by WAVE 3, nearly half of Kentuckians want to balance the budget using slots. Expanded gambling revenue was included in Beshear's original budget proposal, but it was never approved by the full General Assembly.
"I don't think it will happen in special session," said Stumbo. "As you know the House passed that already. I don't think the House is inclined to go forward unless we have some insurance from the Senate that that matter will get a full and fair hearing in the senate."
The House passed it in the 2009 special session.
A new report by State Budget Director Mary Lassiter shows April tax receipts are lower in April compared to a year ago, which means revenue could be even lower for the upcoming cycle. If lawmakers can't agree by June 1, Beshear predicts a partial shutdown of state government
"We believe that rather than shut government down that a continuation budget with some modifications is something that should be considered," proposed Stumbo.
At the end of April, Senate President David Williams (R-Burkesville) said he would not support a continuation of the current budget because it is just prolonging the problem. Williams was out of the office and unavailable for comment.
Gov. Beshear has not set a date for the special session.
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