Bevin spokeswoman: No cuts intended for Kentucky veterans affair - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bevin spokeswoman: No cuts intended for Kentucky veterans affairs department

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Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin delivers his first budget address in 2016. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin delivers his first budget address in 2016.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A spokeswoman for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said Wednesday there are no budget cuts intended for the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs, which the governor promised to spare as part of his austere spending plan.

In unveiling his budget Jan. 26, Bevin proposed reductions in state spending across the board, including by 9 percent in the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years. He exempted more than a dozen “critical” agencies and programs, such as the department that manages veterans nursing homes and cemeteries in the state.

But Veterans Affairs Commissioner Heather French-Henry presented a budget to lawmakers on Tuesday that included a roughly 8.5 percent decline in the department’s general fund appropriations in both 2017 and 2018. She urged the House budget review subcommittee on general government, finance and public protection to help restore the cuts.

French-Henry told reporters Tuesday that it appeared there was “some miscommunication when the final draft was drawn up and submitted.” She said she hasn’t had any discussions with the governor’s office about the budget.

“We have been told through other sources that hopefully those mistakes will be changed and corrected,” she said.

Bevin spokeswoman Jessica Ditto confirmed Wednesday that the veterans agency was supposed to be exempt from the reductions proposed for state government.

“As far as we’re concerned, there are no cuts to the Department of Veterans Affairs,” she said, adding that she was looking into the figures presented to lawmakers.

Among other things, the veterans department operates three nursing homes and 457 residents across the state. A fourth facility, near Fort Knox in Radcliff, is set to open this summer.

About one-quarter of the agency’s roughly $70.3 million budget for fiscal 2016 comes from the general fund.

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