Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Lawmakers Face Tough Financial Choices

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

As we get closer to the start of the 2014 legislative session, it continues to be abundantly clear that Kentucky lawmakers are facing a difficult budget year.

For the past two days in Frankfort, key members of Gov. Steve Beshear’s budget staff have briefed House Democrats and Republicans on the challenges ahead. As we discussed yesterday on Kentucky Tonight, Budget Director Jane Driskell has told lawmakers details about the 2014-16 budget that could mean more spending cuts across many state agencies.

Legislators don’t have many options for generating new money in the next two years. Two ideas up for discussion by the General Assembly are comprehensive tax reform and a constitutional amendment to allow expanded gambling in the Commonwealth.

On Kentucky Tonight, a caller from Warren County proposed an idea about updating the tax codes that he thought legislators should consider.

Kentucky Tonight returns on Monday, January 6 with a preview of the upcoming General Assembly session. Our scheduled guests are Senate President Robert Stivers, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, and Senate Minority Leader R. J. Palmer.

Scrooge and the Kentucky State Budget

Monday, December 16th, 2013

It’s not just the Charles Dickens character with a “Bah! Humbug!” message these days. In fact, it’s difficult to come up with anything cheerful when you look at the financial picture facing the Commonwealth in 2014. Last week, State Budget Director Jane Driskell warned business leaders that spending needs will clearly surpass expected revenues in the coming year.

So bleak it is and bleak it will be when the General Assembly returns to Frankfort on January 7 to hear Gov. Beshear deliver his State of the Commonwealth address. His state budget speech is scheduled to follow on January 21.

Tonight, on our last Kentucky Tonight of 2013, four legislators will be in the studio to discuss our troubled finances, possible cuts to some state agencies, and the attempt to restore funds to education. Our scheduled guests are State Rep. Rick Rand (D-Bedford), chair of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee; State Sen. David Givens (R-Greensburg), vice chair of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee; State Sen. Robin Webb (D-Grayson); and State Rep. Steven Rudy (R-West Paducah).

Please tune in tonight at 8 on KET for the discussion. And you can join the conversation with your questions about the state budget, pension and education funding, or Medicaid costs facing Kentucky. Just give us a call during the program at 800-494-7605, or you can reach us on Twitter or by email at kytonight@ket.org.

Kentucky’s Senators Sing Same Tune

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Both of Kentucky’s U.S. senators are keeping the pressure on President Obama regarding the fiscal cliff: Senior Senator Mitch McConnell said today on the Senate floor:

“For more than a year, President Obama and Democrats in Congress have known as well as I do that every single taxpayer is scheduled to get slammed with an automatic tax hike on January 1. And for an entire year they’ve been running out the clock. Think about it: for President Obama, there is no better outcome than for taxes to go up on everybody — everybody. Why? Because the only way to pay for the big government this president wants is by raising taxes on everybody — the super-rich, the rich, middle class, lower class, you name it.”

Of course, Senate Democrats disagree.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue between the president and Speaker Boehner, but the press and the public know very little about what’s being said.

Senator Rand Paul was in Kentucky last week for an appearance before a sold-out Commerce Lexington lunch. Paul came armed with a couple of boxes of his second book, “Government Bullies” and serious criticism of the president and Democrats for not addressing entitlement spending — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — and backing away from including them in the fiscal cliff conversations.

Thanks to Mark Turner and Commerce Lexington for this portion of Paul’s remarks.

Please have a safe and happy holiday.


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