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Eastern Kentucky lawmakers weigh in on expected budget deficit

By: Tanner Hesterberg Email
By: Tanner Hesterberg Email

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP, WYMT) - Kentucky officials said Tuesday the state will likely end the 2014 fiscal year with a multimillion-dollar deficit.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear will have to make budget cuts to balance the budget. House budget chairman Rep. Rick Rand said the governor would likely not call the legislature back for a special session.

State officials won't know the size of the deficit until next month. But with state revenues falling 2.1 percent in May, Kentucky would need an 11.7 percent increase in June to avoid a deficit. The fiscal year ends June 30.

State Budget Director Jane Driskell blamed the deficit on individual income tax collections. The state's largest source of revenue has grown by 0.5 percent this year. State officials expected it to grow by 2.4 percent.

House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, said, "It's not really surprising, to be very honest. If you travel across Kentucky you see that some pockets of Kentucky are doing very well as far as the economy goes but other parts of Kentucky are really struggling."

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said, "You can't blame it on an inanimate object. You have to look at what's underneath that and blame it on the economy. If we don't have income taxes being paid at the rate that we expected, that means people aren't working. And that does not come as a surprise in Eastern Kentucky."

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