Most every lawmaker in Frankfort anticipates a very difficult task in molding a two year budget this session. Senators and Representatives are now digesting Governor Beshear’s budget suggestions. Senate Budget Committee Chair, Bob Leeper says the governor proposes cuts and spending more money. “It’s going to be interesting to see how the folks that are taking the cuts in various areas are gonna feel about additional money going some place else.. I think there was hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cuts…and hundreds of millions of dollars in new programs…so it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out,” said Leeper.
House Budget Committee Chair, Rick Rand warns of higher costs for parents of college aged students.
“And so what we do this time is going to be painful..it’s going to be painful to a lot of agencies when you look at higher education..you know it’s going to be even higher tuition costs,” said Rands.
Rand says members of the General Assembly may have the toughest time ever crafting a state budget this session. Vice Chair Bob DeWeece says it probably ranks right up there with the so called ‘scorched earth’ budget of 1996.
“Sort of like the bank accounts gone…the piggy bank’s been broken in to..a long time ago and now we’re looking for change between the cushions,” added DeWeece.
Pike County Senator Ray Jones worries how the final budget could impact education gains in his part of the state.
“The improvements we’ve made since education reform in Kentucky are being placed in jeopardy…we’re going backward in terms of funding education,” said Jones.
The lawmakers comments were part of K-E-T’s Kentucky Tonight program Monday. A re-broadcast will be aired Tuesday at eleven a.m. on Weku.