Kentucky Budget Talks Break Down

By Associated Press | 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- House and Senate lawmakers are far from agreeing on how to spend $20 billion in tax money during the next two years.

Talks broke down early Friday afternoon over $1 million for expanded cancer screenings and $500,000 to replace a roof at a domestic violence shelter in Louisville.

Senate Republicans argued the cancer screening money is unnecessary now that Medicaid and private insurance plans are required to pay for them under the federal Affordable Care Act. Democrats say the money is still needed because not everyone has signed up for insurance yet.

"We discussed this for 45 minutes and never got any resolution on whether the women of the Commonwealth to breast cancer and ovarian cancer screenings. I don't understand for the life of me why it is that we have to re-visit this again," said Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris, House Majority Caucus Chair.

"We took funds that are in the budget for covered services out of the budget, trying to protect the tax payer's interest. They made an emotional, passionate appeal, as is their right to do in the budget discussions," said Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg.

Lawmakers have yet to discuss big issues in the budget, including a 1.5 cents-per-gallon increase in the gas tax and $65 million for the renovation of Rupp Arena in Lexington.

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