Budget Negotiations To Begin In Frankfort

A conference committee made up of Kentucky House and Senate leaders now has the task of reconciling the two versions of a state budget passed by the chambers.

The Senate plan was approved Monday by a vote of 36 to 2.

Democrats Ernesto Scorsone and Julian Carroll cast the two ‘no’ votes.

Unlike the House budget, the Senate version does not include a hikeĀ in the cigarette tax, but projects an increase in state lottery revenue and savings from a plan to reduce Kentucky’s prison population.

Republican Senator Julie Denton of Louisville told her colleagues that ironing out an agreement may be tough, but it was important to pass a budget to get to the negotiating table.

“We don’t have many days left in which to come up with a budget, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t think most of the people in Kentucky would be too crazy (about coming back) for a special session. I know I personally would not,” Denton said.

There is just over a week left in the legislative session for leaders from the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-led Senate to agree on a budget.