House Budget Committee Chair Rick Rand, D-Bedford (left), confers with House Majority Whip Tommy Thompson, D-Owensboro (right), and House Majority Caucus Chair Robert Damron, D-Nicholasville, prior to the start of the day's legislative session in the Kent
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.
Governor Steve Beshear is urging state lawmakers to approve a budget proposal that would raise the income eligibility level for public preschool to 160 percent of the federal poverty rate. Preschool in Kentucky is currently offered to 4-year-olds whose family income is 150 percent of the federal poverty level or less. Children with developmental delays or disabilities are also eligible. Beshear says more kids need to get an early start in school: