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Who Gets Final Say On New Stimulus Spending? Kentucky Governor And GOP 'Still In Talks'

LRC Public Information

While some dollars included in the $1.9 trillion federal relief package began showing up in people's bank accounts over the weekend, decisions about Kentucky's state portion could be put on hold.

The governor and the GOP-controlled legislature are working to reach a deal on how to spend the $2.4 billion headed to Kentucky, but time is of the essence. Just a handful of days remain in the 2021 session and the General Assembly is attaching its own strings to the money. Under a recently released budget proposal, Gov. Andy Beshear would need the legislature's ok to spend the stimulus dollars.

"Where the American Recovery Act funds go I think is an issue of federal law,  but I hope it's not an issue we have to reach," the Democrat said Monday. "We've had several meetings with leadership, we've laid out a specific plan, and we're still in talks on that."

Though the federal dollars come with limits on how they can be allocated, the state is allowed some leeway. The governor has pushed for the legislature to think big and provide substantial investments in priorities like broadband and clean water projects. The Republican-drafted plan would require the passage of new budget legislation or a special session to get those rescue dollars flowing.

The language marks a change from last year's budget, which did not place the same constraints on federal CARES Act money. 

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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