Key Kentucky lawmaker talks of possible broad cuts

Kentucky Senate budget writers can’t rule out reductions to elementary and secondary education as part of broader cuts as they prepare their version of a two-year state budget plan, a key senator said Tuesday.

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Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chairman Bob Leeper said that senators are facing a “huge hole” in crafting their spending blueprint for the next two years, beginning July 1. Leeper, a Paducah Independent, cast doubts about a $371 million package of revenue enhancements passed by the House as part of its $17.5 billion two-year budget proposal.

The Senate budget panel began deliberations Tuesday on the House budget plan, with some senators speaking in favor of restoring two classroom days for kindergarten through high school.

The House proposed dropping the two days in a move projected to save about $36 million each year. Under that plan, school districts could preserve the days but would pick up the tab.

Democratic Sen. [Read the full article]

Riot police stand next to burning garbage during a protest in Athens on Tuesday, March 16, 2010. Police scuffled with demonstrators, as the government faced fresh opposition to its economic austerity measures, despite signs that markets are beginning to respond positively to Greece’s drastic cuts. Riot police fired stun grenades to disperse rock throwing youths outside parliament, during a brief flare-up of violence after 2,000 people took part in a protest march. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Police scuffled with demonstrators in Athens late Tuesday as the government faced fresh opposition to its austerity measures, despite signs that markets are beginning to respond positively to Greece’s drastic cuts.

Riot police fired stun grenades to disperse rock-throwing youths outside parliament during a brief flare-up of violence after 2,000 people took part in a protest march. [Read the full article]

House members put off a debate Tuesday on Kansas tax policy, saying it’s too early to determine how much more money is needed to fund state government next year.

Democrats and moderate Republicans pushed for the delay, saying forcing votes on raising sales taxes to pay for schools and social services was little more than “gotcha politics” by House conservatives.

“The people of Kansas deserve better than what we are doing today,” said House Assistant Minority Leader Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat.

The vote was 64-57 to delay the debate until May 3, a week after legislators end their traditional spring break and three weeks after the new revenue estimate for 2011 is released.

Republicans said they couldn’t write a responsible budget that didn’t include cuts in education and other programs without knowing how much revenue will be available. [Read the full article]

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