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

by Tony McVeigh on March 2, 2011

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.

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