School Construction Debated in Budget Negotiations
Kentucky lawmakers continue to work on a budget compromise. Both chambers of the General Assembly have approved budget bills and a conference committee has been meeting since Monday to work out the differences. One major point of disagreement is funding for school construction. It's a priority for the House. But Senators were not ready to haggle during a Tuesday morning session.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the issue is so important to his chamber that a disagreement could derail budget talks.
“We feel very strongly about that because it’s not only good government, it not only replaces these facilities but it’s job creation,” he says.
The issue has caused problems between the two chambers before. But despite the disagreement and a heavy workload, Senator Robert Stivers says the conference committee is making swift progress.
“There are points that people have disagreement on but there is legitimate discussion going on, give and take, throughout the process and it’s moving forward in the 16 years I’ve been around as fast as I’ve seen it,” he says.
The conference committee members must still take up coal severance projects and preschool funding, two more potential stumbling blocks.
Lawmakers have until roughly 3 am Thursday to agree on a compromise in order to pass the budget by early Friday morning. If they don’t pass a budget this week, they may not be able to save a day later in the session to override gubernatorial vetoes.