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KY Legislative Leaders Finishing Work On Budget Plan

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

Kentucky House and Senate leaders will meet today to solidify their budget-balancing plan before sharing it with their members and the governor. House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the plan likely will include alcohol beverage taxes, but debate continues over whether that should be at the retail or wholesale level.

“Nobody wants to hurt anybody, and so one of the things we have to look at now – and we’re going to be obviously talking among ourselves and with others the industry – if these are the options, then what’s the best way to proceed,” Stumbo said.                                   

The plan is also expected to include a cigarette tax hike and Stumbo says if one is approved, it likely will be less than 50 cents. Legislative leaders hope to have the plan through the House by Wednesday, through the Senate by Friday, and on the governor’s desk by Friday night.

Action is necessary because the state is facing an almost $460 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year.

(Photo Courtesy of Kentucky Legislative Research Commission)

 

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KY Legislative Leaders To Talk Taxes

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

Kentucky House and Senate leaders are now signaling it’s likely going to require new revenue sources to balance the state budget this fiscal year.

After caucusing for two hours, House Democrats gave their leaders the green light to talk taxes with Senate leaders. All options remain on the table, says Speaker Greg Stumbo.

“We believe that further budget cuts to the level that would be required with no new sources of revenue, that it would be devastating to Kentucky’s families,” Stumbo said Tuesday.

Senate President David Williams agrees. “It appears to me at this juncture that there will be a need for some revenue,” he said.

Neither side will say how far they’re willing to go, but Governor Beshear’s budget-balancing plan includes a 70-cent increase in the cigarette tax. The problem they’re trying to fix is a $459 million state budget shortfall in the current fiscal year.