Beshear Makes New Gaming Pitch

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

A new pitch from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear for a budget based on revenue from casino gambling landed with a thud in the state House Thursday.

Budget chairman Rick Rand says House members aren’t signaling any desire to act on the governor’s latest request, which came in the form of a two-page letter to each member.

“I’d say if he wants gaming, he needs to get over here and start counting votes,” he says. “You know, they’re just not there. They’re not there, and we can’t spin our wheels any longer. We have to balance this budget. We have to leave here with a balanced budget. And if he thinks the gaming votes are there, then I would encourage him to come over here and start counting and let us know where they are.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo still isn’t hearing any hue and cry to pass the governor’s budget.

“We’ve told him that obviously, he’s welcome to do all he can to pass his agenda,” says Stumbo. “But we haven’t been able to detect any real movement or support for it.”

Meanwhile, Rand and other House leaders continue meeting behind-the-scenes with Senate leaders to craft a new state spending plan. The House hopes to have a budget to the Senate by the first week of March.