Legislators in Both Houses Wrangle Over Pace of Budget Action
In the Kentucky Legislature, there was budget talk Friday in both houses, but it had little to do with dollars and cents. It began in the Senate when Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer asked members in the House to move on a two year budget and get it to his chamber.
“We need to keep this process going. If the House is not going to make many changes, why wait. Pass it on down to us, have your floor debate down there, send it down here so we can do the work and put our philosophical changes in place,” said Thayer.
Governor Beshear introduced his recommendations in a speech before a joint session last month. Members of budget committees in both houses of the General Assembly have received testimony from the governor’s office. Former governor and now Senator Julian Carrol says senators can work off the governor’s spending plan and not wait for House action. “Go on and go to work on that budget, hold hearings on that budget, call agencies on that budget, go to work,” said Carrol. Later in the morning a similar debate rang out in the House. Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover told fellow members he believes, with each passing day, the risk of a special session on a budget grows. House Budget Committee Chair Rick Rand says the pace is about standard with previous sessions. “We’re on time and on schedule and we’ll get the senate the budget in plenty of time and when we usually do. I don’t anticipate it will be any later than it normally is,” said Rand. Once both bodies have voted on a budget, a joint conference committee will likely be formed to try and iron out a compromise spending plan. That typically comes in the waning days of the session the end of March.