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House speaker offers new budget idea in standoff

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky's budget standoff remained
unbroken Wednesday with one day left in the legislative session,
with hopes for a last-minute deal revolving around an unusual
proposal that would hand over authority to the governor to continue
funding state government.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo floated the idea of a so-called
continuation budget that would allow funding to keep flowing into
state operations well into the next fiscal year.

The proposal drew a guarded response from a key senator, though
it amounted to a major concession by House Democrats on the
divisive issue of state borrowing for projects.

"It's a very unusual strategy," Senate Appropriations and
Revenue Committee Chairman Bob Leeper, a Paducah Independent, said
late Wednesday night. "I've never heard of it offered before. We
didn't want to make a snap judgment. We want to get some more
information."

The budget drama was certain to overshadow the final day of the
General Assembly's 60-day session on Thursday.

Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said the continuation budget would not
allow the state to incur additional debt while in effect. That
would rule out borrowing for proposed construction projects
championed by House Democratic leaders in an effort to kick start
job growth.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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