Lawmakers Dig Into Budget, Look For More Money

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - With an April 15 deadline approaching, lawmakers are preparing to turn their full attention to the state's cash-strapped budget.

House Speaker Jody Richards said Friday that legislative leaders are hoping to find additional revenue for education despite projections that Kentucky faces a $900 million revenue shortfall over the next two years.

Members of six budget subcommittees are scheduled to gather privately Sunday at the Capitol to pick through a proposed $18.5 billion behemoth in the first of a series of meetings.

"For the next two weeks, our emphasis will be on the budget," said Richards, D-Bowling Green.

Gov. Steve Beshear has described the state's financial outlook as grim. In addition to the impending shortfall, revenues fell some $434 million this year alone.

Beshear, in his budget proposal, called for substantial cuts in a variety of government programs because of the declining revenues. To help ease or eliminate at least some of those cuts, state Rep. David Watkins, D-Henderson, is proposing an increase in the state's cigarette tax, which is currently 30 cents per pack. He wants to raise the tax to $1 per pack, a move that would generate an extra $200 million a year.

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  • by Diane Location: Mt.Sterling on Mar 2, 2008 at 04:46 PM
    The deficit just keeps climbing?? I find this amazing. You can be sure he will cut in programs that will get a reaction in his favor. Like Education, law enforcement etc...that way he can justify casinos. He can say we have to do it to save this important things. What a joke. Maybe he can ask his Gambling buddies for the money. After all, they paid for his campaign.
  • by c Location: fkt on Mar 1, 2008 at 05:43 AM
    I'm a smoker & I would much rather see an increase in the cigerette tax than see casinos come to this state. At least the cigerette tax is a sure thing! While they are looking, they really need to look at the structure of state government. Get rid of deputy secretaries, deputy commissioners, etc. that alone will save the state some much needed money! These positions are nothing more than policital ones anyway & use taxpayer money unnecessarily! Fulfill campgain promises some other way! Stop the pet projects. If we are in as bad of shape as you want us to believe, then stop construction on that arena in Louisville! It is not needed! Don't give 6 million to the zoo, etc. More campgain promises being filled at taxpayer's expense! Lawmakers ALWAYS find the money for their PET PROJECTS, but yet want to cut funding for education, healthcare, etc. the 2 programs that should be top priority. Lawmakers don't care about our children, they care about their next election!


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