The Kentucky General Assembly has been in session since the first of the year and now the beginning of budget discussions are underway. In a week from Tuesday, a budget for Kentucky will be on its way to approval by house lawmakers. Over the weekend legislative leaders burned the midnight oil on their version of a two-year state spending blueprint.
House Speaker, Jody Richards, says: "We have decided that we will probably just so we don't rush things too much, we're going to bring the budget out of commission Friday and vote on the budget next Tuesday."
Earlier reports indicated the budget would be voted on this Friday. After further consideration lawmakers are pushing the date back to ensure there are no mistakes.
Richards says: "This is a 17.8 billion dollar budget over two years. It's a large set of expenditures and we want to make sure that we help as many Kentuckians as we can and that we don't make any mistakes."
A salary raise for teachers of some three percent was proposed by house leaders as well as other commitments to elementary and secondary education.
Richards says: "We intend to do more for educational technology and full-day kindergartens. And certainly Western Kentucky University, I believe, will fare well in this budget and all of those are important in our area."
Another item on the budget that affects South Central Kentucky is the future of I-65.
Richards says: "Of course the road plan will help people in South central Kentucky. The six-laning of the remaining portions of I-65 that have not already been 6-laned. They will be in this budget."
Two things not included in the budget bill are the repealing of prevailing wages and the opening of union shops to non-union workers. Those are issues Governor Fletcher had included in his proposed budget.
Speaker Richards says he does not believe either item is important to the Senate, and he says he believes the budget bill will pass without them.
For more information on the budget and other legislation stay connected to our website and click on Kentucky Votes.