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House Budget Vote Punctuated By Procedural Disputes

Josh James

The latest version of the budget emerged from the Kentucky House of Representatives amid a flurry of procedural wrangling on the chamber floor Wednesday.

The results of the March special elections were on full display as Democrats leveraged their 53-47 majority to defeat a long list of Republican-backed amendments, including language reinstating Gov. Matt Bevin's recommended education reductions.

The majority party repeatedly advertised the positives of their spending plan, which restores cuts for universities, fully funds the required pension contributions, and backs off some borrowing in the governor's budget. But Republicans hammered the bill as unsustainable and short-sighted.

"We didn't save any money in this budget and we spend all of the one-time dollars," Shelbyville Rep. Bran Montell charged. "All this budget is is window dressing."

The GOP minority also criticized Democrats for adopting a more optimistic approach toward revenue forecasting estimates than the governor, adding another $270 million in spending. Still, Budget Committee Chair Rick Rand said the Democratic plan better balances the state's needs.   

"I believe it hits all the right notes," Rand said. "I believe it's about education and I believe that is what brings people out of poverty, improves their health, strengthens our families."

The House budget passed on a party-line vote with all Republicans abstaining.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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