General Assembly To Face Budget Crisis

By Ryan Dearbone | 

This year's budget is weighing heavy on politicians in Frankfort.

Last year's budget surplus is now a distant memory and lawmakers are spending the next few weeks figuring out how to pay for Kentucky's future.

"The budget as bleak as it looks is going to take more time and be a little more painful this time," says 3rd District House Representative, Joey Pendleton.

Democratic Speaker of the House Jody Richards says the more than $500-million financial hole the state's fallen into shouldn't come as a surprise.

Several lawmakers pointed it out during last year's special session.

"During the special session, one of the reasons we didn't stay longer was because I knew that we didn't have $150-million to spend," says Richards.

Governor Beshear is not the first Governor to take office when the state's finances were on the down swing, but this seems to be one of the worst.

"This is the first time I can ever remember that both of the next two years are projected to have less income or lower revenues than we actually spent last year," notes Richards.

Senate president David Williams is none too pleased with Beshear's pre-emptive 3% budget cut.

"He had a problem with the previous administration not following the law, so he should follow the law," Williams says emphatically.

Still, many at the Capital are hoping the budget projections don't turn out to be as bad as originally projected.

Several lawmakers say the legislation is going to have to look at various resources and accounts to try to pull funds from.

Both Richards and 15th District House Representative, Brent Yonts say despite Friday's cut, the last place they want to take money from is education at any level.

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