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Crunch Time for the State Legislature

By: MacKenzie Bates Email
By: MacKenzie Bates Email

It is crunch time for the state legislature as a budget agreement needs to be reached before midnight Thursday night.

Legislators say the problem is the house democrats' plan to borrow one billion dollars for construction projects they say will add jobs.

But Senate republicans don't want more debt.

If lawmakers don't approve the budget by tomorrow night it's likely Gov. Steve Beshear will call a special session.

Time is running out for the state legislature to come to an agreement on a biennial budget.

Governor Steve Beshear says it should not have taken this long.

“I know the taxpayers of this state and I expect the legislature to do their job and to pass a budget you know they've been there three months,” Beshear says. “Surely to goodness in three months they can do the main job that people ask them to do.”

If they do not meet Thursday night's deadline, Beshear will have to call legislators back in for a special session.

“We got to pay them more money, more of the taxpayer's money to do a job that they ought ot have done in the first three months,” Beshear says.

State Senator Brandon Smith is confident an agreement will be reached by Thursday Night

“I trust that what we will come out with will be a lean budget but it will be something we can all live with and it will be shared across the board as far as there won't be one section that won't be carrying any greater burden than the other,” Smith says.

State Representative Fitz Steele says the Legislature must work with each other to hammer out a budget.

“Sitting down and working together and reaching across party aisle and sticking your hand out to work together with one another and work for the good of the commonwealth and not just districts and areas for the whole commonwealth,” Steele says.

Smith says it is important to put education on the front burner of this budget.

“We fund the two days that were taken out of the house, and keep from teachers take those hits because those hits impact their salaries,” Smith says.

Beshear cannot stress enough the need for both sides to reach common ground on a budget.

“The elections are this fall,” Beshear says. “And I think if they don't get their job done the voters of this state may react pretty negatively.”

But Beshear is confident an agreement will be reached.

If an agreement is not reached by Thursday, it will cost taxpayers $60,000 per day that the general assembly is in session.

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