Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Ky. Governor Proposes Cuts in Most Agencies

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Ky. Governor Proposes Cuts in Most Agencies

Article excerpt

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Declaring "the day of reckoning has come," Gov. Steve Beshear called Tuesday for 8.4 percent cuts to most government agencies. Only education, public safety and a handful of other programs would be spared to make up a $742 million deficit. He presented his proposal to a joint session of the House and Senate.

"To protect our people, we have used every trick in our bag, patched holes with every bandage we could find and reached for every helping hand extended in our direction," he told lawmakers. "But my friends, the major efficiencies have been found, and the tricks and Band-Aids are about used up."

The next round of cuts would come in the first year of his two- year, $19.5 billion budget proposal. Funding would be unchanged in the second year.

The cuts, totaling $286 million, would be especially difficult for agencies that have already trimmed their budgets by more than 30 percent over the past four years.

Initial responses from lawmakers were favorable.

"I think the governor did a good job of trying to manage the situation we find ourselves in," said Rep. Rick Rand, D-Bedford. "He has worked very hard to save K-12 education funding, which will be viewed very favorably in the House."

Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, called the revenue outlook "very ugly" for the next two years.

"These are very diffi-cult times in the state of Kentucky, and I think the governor approached it in the right way," he said. "He didn't beat around the bush. He said it's a difficult budget, and it is."

The governor also used his biennial budget address to promote casino-style gambling in Kentucky, a state that now allows residents to try their luck only on horse races, lotteries and charitable bingo games. Beshear has proposed a constitutional amendment that, if approved by lawmakers, would be placed on the ballot for voters to ratify or reject. …

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