Frankfort, KY – Now that new House and Senate leaders have been elected, the 2009 session is in recess until February 3rd. But the budget committees of both houses will be meeting during the break to find answers to the state's 456-million dollar budget deficit. House Speaker Greg Stumbo was asked why they're not meeting as a joint committee. "My original thought was that we'd be better doing it jointly. But then when you look at the size of the committee, when combined, it does make it a bit more unruly. And so I agree with Senator Williams, it's best to let them proceed. They may look at different things."
Governor Steve Beshear was hoping lawmakers would take care of the budget problem in January, but House and Senate leaders say, without an agreement, that's not possible. Among the governor's suggestions for reducing the shortfall is a 70-cent increase in the state's cigarette tax.