Senate Rejects Beshear’s Plan to Balance Medicaid Budget, Approves Its Own Spending Bill

The Kentucky Senate last night rejected Governor Steve Beshear’s plan for balancing the state’s Medicaid budget.  The Republican-controlled Senate voted 24-12 for its own budget-balancing plan, which requires across-the-board cuts to state agencies.

“I will tell you that the cuts that have been proposed in this particular bill are very modest cuts. It’s necessary because we spend most of our money in Medicaid, education, incarceration. These major things that we spend our money on have to be included,” says Senate President David Williams.

The Democratic-controlled House supported the governor’s proposal, but Speaker Greg Stumbo believes there’s room for compromise.

“There’s nothing to say that you really couldn’t really combine both of those bills and say, all right governor, here you’ve got the opportunity – you’re the chief magistrate of this state, you’re the guy that’s in charge of all the administrative functions of this state,” says Stumbo. “But if you can’t do that, or if you can only do part of that, then here’s what you have to do to make up the difference.”

The search for a compromise likely will require House and Senate negotiators to meet in conference committee before the session ends.  Only five days remain in the 30-day session.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.