With budget agreement in place, lawmakers head to vote on Friday
After weeks of discussion and debate, Democrats and Republicans in the Kentucky State Legislature finally have agreement in place for a budget for the next two years.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- After weeks of discussion and debate, Democrats and Republicans in the Kentucky State Legislature finally have agreement in place for a budget for the next two years.
The debate went on until 3 AM Thursday before party leaders on both sides emerged with a plan.
"I think it should suffice to say that we have reached an agreement," said Senate President (R) Robert Stivers during a news conference following negotiations. "We plan to brief our respective caucuses on the process going forward and what will be in the document."
"It is an adequate and effective blend of the priorities contained in both the Governor's recommendation the House budget and the Senate budget," said Speaker of the House (D) Greg Stumbo.
One of the main sticking points was funding to the state's universities. The governor wanted a 9-percent cut, with the savings going to the ailing pension systems. Democrats argued that cuts were not needed. The two sides met in the middle with a 4.5-percent cut.
"The Senate, the House, the university presidents and myself are all in complete agreement with one another on this," Governor Matt Bevin said.
Friday is the last day of the legislative session for a vote on the budget. Governor Bevin said he would not call legislators back to Frankfort for a special session if the two sides did not come to agreement. That would have ultimately resulted in a partial government shutdown beginning July 1st.
“We thank Senate President Stivers, House Speaker Stumbo and the members of the conference committee for the hard work that was put into this budget agreement. For the first time in decades, we can say that Kentucky is investing in our pension system in a meaningful way. We look forward to reviewing the details of the compromise and its final passage,” Bevin said in a statement.
Leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate both told WDRB News early Thursday morning they did not expect long debate over the budget amongst lawmakers on Friday.
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