Lawmakers reach deal on state budget, Rupp bonds not included

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Early Sunday morning, the Kentucky Senate and House Budget Conference Committee reached a deal on the state budget that included how much money Rupp Arena will be getting for their upcoming renovation.

The Herald Leader reports that the House and Senate have reached an agreement on a two-year budget deal. That deal does not include the $65 million for the Rupp Arena renovation, but lawmakers say it does give a small fund to the arena for planning and engineering that will be matched with local funds so that the project can still move forward.

"It's something that we're supportive of. We think there still needs to be a little bit better planning, a little bit more information," Senate President Robert Stivers told a reporter from CN2.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said, "They will have a path forward. It'll be a fairly clear path, and if they accomplish what the General assembly would want them to do, then the path will be cleared for them,"

The Herald Leader reports that lawmakers said the project will have their support once more planning is done and more information is available. They say the arena project needs to present a financial plan and have a signed lease with UK before moving forward.

Mayor Jim Gray asked the state to fund the proposed $310 million renovation of Rupp Arena and the Convention center this weekend. Stumbo asked Gray what would happen if legislators didn't give the project a way forward. Gray said it would be a "stake in the heart of the project,"

The Herald Leader reports that House members agreed to cut the funding for Rupp from the budget in order to avoid more debt.

Lawmakers say the budget is expected to be ready for final approval on Monday.

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