Budget

Both chambers of the General Assembly have approved budget bills and a conference committee has been meeting since Monday to work out the differences. One major point of disagreement is funding for school construction. It's a priority for the House. But Senators were not ready to haggle during a Tuesday morning session.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the issue is so important to his chamber that a disagreement could derail budget talks.

LRC Public Information

As the 2012 legislative session winds down, lawmakers aren’t touting a long list of accomplishments.  They say that’s not due to a lack of work, but mainly a lack of extra money to fund new programs or expand others.  Instead, House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the main highlights will be a three-bill attack on Kentucky’s drug abuse problems and passing general and road budgets before the end of the session.  In recent years, lawmakers haven’t even been able to pass budgets on time. So Stumbo says this year is a return to normal.

 House Speaker Greg Stumbo says his chamber's priorities for the next two-year budget are not that different from the Senate's.

Both chambers have passed their own budget bills for each branch of state government. The two sides must now work out a compromise. Stumbo says he doesn't have many concerns with the Senate's changes and he expects a conference committee to hatch a compromise quickly.

Nixon Opposes Blind Healthcare Cuts

Mar 13, 2012

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is opposing budget cuts to a health care program for the blind. The House budget committee proposed to cut the state’s current 28 million dollar program and replace it with a new 6 million dollar program. The proposed cuts are expected to go in front of the entire House next week. Nixon is urging representatives to support the current program which covers healthcare costs like prescriptions and doctor visits and serves over 2,000 blind Missourians.

Kentucky’s General Assembly session is winding down, but budget negotiations are just beginning for the state Senate.  The House passed their version of budgets for all three branches of state government last week. But Senate Budget Chairman Bob Leeper says that doesn’t mean his side will be able to act quickly on the plan.  Leeper says the Senate will compare three separate budgets: Governor Steve Beshear’s original proposal, the House’s changed plan and the last two-year budget.

From the Associated Press:

Illinois lawmakers have agreed on how much money will be available for next year's budget. The state Senate joined the House today in approving a revenue estimate of $33.7 billion. The figure amounts to an upper limit for the fiscal year starting July 1. But much of the money will go to paying pensions and old bills, leaving less for day-to-day government services. Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno says creating a budget will be the most difficult challenge for legislators.

The Paducah-McCracken County Convention Center Corporation discussed a healthy budget during the Executive Committee meeting Tuesday. The committee mulled over the center’s current cash flow and expenses in preparation for future budget workshops with city and county representatives. The corporation will submit budget requests to both governments for funds to help cover upcoming costs.

LRC Public Information

The House committee charged with overseeing the budget has taken its first official steps in the process.

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee took reports from subcommittees and accepted their recommendations at a meeting today.

The House plan deviates slightly from Governor Steve Beshear's proposal. It delays the start of substance abuse programs in Medicaid and the creation of an Adult Abuse registry, saving more than two million dollars in the process.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn wants to eliminate the state's contributions toward health insurance benefits for retired school teachers and community college professors across the state.  Those cuts are part of the budget proposal he unveiled last week. They target two insurance programs and would save the state about $92 million.  About 77,000 retired teachers and their dependents are covered under the Teachers Retirement Insurance Program and the Community College Insurance Program.  If Quinn's plan is approved, retirees could be forced to pay higher premiums.

Kentucky House Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chairman Rick Rand says he expects no major overhaul of Governor Steve Beshear's budget proposal.  Rand says House lawmakers will likely do some "fine tuning" but Governor Beshear's 19 and a half billion dollar two-year budget proposal won't undergo wholesale changes.  Lawmakers spent Sunday at the Capitol examining the budget proposal, which could be presented to House lawmakers for a vote within two weeks.  Rand says he expects the almost 8 and a half percent cuts Beshear proposed for most government agencies will largely stay in place.

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