Senate, House give approval to KY budget - News, Weather & Sports

Senate, House give approval to KY budget

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the state's budget, which includes a smaller-than-expected cut for the University of Louisville, but little money for a Rupp Arena expansion.

The House voted 90-10 to send the budget bill to Gov. Steve Beshear. The Senate had earlier approved the measure by a 37-1 vote.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Beshear would veto portions of the budget, which includes a Republican-supported prohibition on using state money to implement the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky.

The final agreement comes after days of debate and a weekend shouting match between House and Senate negotiators to settle several key issues.

Among the provisions in the budget agreement:

  • $1.5 million for initial planning and design of a proposed Rupp Arena expansion. Lawmakers stripped out $65 million in state bonds, tucking them into the state's rainy day fund instead, and asked Lexington leaders to come back with a better financing plan for the project.
  • A 1.5 percent cut for colleges and universities, including the University of Louisville. Beshear had called for a 2.5 percent cut.
  • $56 million for the expansion of the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville.
  • Allowing the state's community and technical colleges to create a student fee that by 2016 could cost a full-time student about $240 per semester.
  • Mandates a 1 percent raise for public school teachers in 2015 and a 2 percent raise the year after.
  • Raises for all state workers based on the employee's salary. The lowest-earning state employees would receive a 5 percent raise in 2015 and a 1 percent raise the year after.
  • A largely symbolic provision that "nothing in the enacted budget should be construed as an approval by the General Assembly" of the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky.

Lawmakers did not agree to a six-year statewide road plan, nor did they settle the controversial 1.5 percent gas tax increase.

The General Assembly adjourned until April 14, when they will take up the road spending plan and could attempt to override any of Beshear's vetoes.

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