FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) – In the waning hours of May 28, Kentucky lawmakers approved a new $17 billion spending plan for the next two years.
Lawmakers came to a final agreement around 10:30 p.m. on the fifth day of a special session that started on May 24. The session costs Kentucky taxpayers about $63,000 a day.
By approving the budget, lawmakers avoided partial government shut down July 1, the first day of the new fiscal year.
"I think it's wonderful we've reached an agreement," said Sen. Dan Seum (R-Fairdale). "It's a struggle. It's what we do down here."
With any budget comes cuts, but this budget promises no new taxes.
"We had to make some adjustments here and that means some people have to move backwards a little bit but that's the economic times we're in," said Seum.
Meanwhile, House Rep. Larry Clark (D-Louisville) said he was pleased with the work they have done.
"We've done two things," said Clark. "We're protecting the health and human services and the education. That was the House Democrats primary goal."
Clark says those agencies are seeing the least cuts and given the economic times, he thinks legislators did the best they could.
Although it is a Saturday, the House and the Senate will be back in session on May 29 at 2 p.m. Lawmakers cannot adjourn before the budget is printed, which takes 12 hours. The House and Senate have yet to vote on a transportation budget or a road plan, but those do not interfere with the new state budget, which will now go to Gov. Steve Beshear.
Late Friday, Gov. Beshear released the following statement:
"I am pleased that the budget agreement reached tonight avoids a devastating shutdown of state government and is within the parameters I proposed – no new taxes, no significant new debt and maintains our priorities. I am also glad that they resolved the unemployment insurance problem by accepting the recommendations of my task force.
However, I urge them to finish their work tomorrow and pass a Road Plan and Transportation budget in order to avoid a shutdown of our highway construction, maintenance and safety programs."
Kerri Richardson, deputy communications director for the Governor's Office, said Gov. Beshear will review the budget, but it is unclear how long it will take before he signs it.