Budget Woes May Prompt Special Session

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky General Assembly isn't scheduled to return to business until January, but a number of issues could draw lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special session later this year.

Gov. Steve Beshear may call the General Assembly into a special session before January, especially if future revenue estimates show a large budget shortfall ahead. If Kentucky's already ailing economy gets worse, the probability for a special legislative session later this year likely increases.

"I can't speak for the governor, but I do expect that the economic situation that we're in may well justify a special session before the next fiscal year begins," House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg said. "I don't think the numbers on the revenue side are going to get any better for a while."

Beshear also may call the Legislature back to town if a panel of state economists predicts later this year a likely revenue shortfall of 5 percent or more in the fiscal year that begins July 1. The governor, however, does not have authority to amend a budget
if there's a shortfall of more than 5 percent, Beshear spokesman Jay Blanton said in an e-mail.

But other issues could also lead to a special session.

Lawmakers adjourned Thursday after having passed most of their top priorities - a fix to the state's $456 million budget shortfall and an approximately $3.7 billion road and bridge plan that allocates Kentucky's share of the federal stimulus money for transportation. But the Legislature left some other matters on the table.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-28-09 0601EDT

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