- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Latest on Kentucky’s budget negotiations (all times local):

___

1:30 p.m.

Senate Republicans have offered to restore budget cuts to K-12 education, but insisted on 9 percent cuts for colleges and universities over the next two years.

House Democrats quickly rejected the offer, saying they would not agree to anything that reduces spending on colleges and universities. House Speaker Greg Stumbo said giving colleges and universities less money would lead to tuition increases, which he described as tax increases for college-aged parents.

But Republican leaders said their proposal would spend an extra $273 million more on the state’s badly funded public pension systems. Senate budget chairman Chris McDaniel noted the system is dangerously close to defaulting on its obligations to state retirees.

The two sides plan to meet again at 5 p.m.

___

11 a.m.

House Democrats have offered a compromise on a two-year state spending plan that would not cut colleges and universities and sets aside $250 million for Kentucky’s public pension debt.

The offer came minutes after Republican Gov. Matt Bevin held a news conference criticizing House Democrats for not negotiating. Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Monday he did not believe lawmakers would be able to agree on a budget proposal before the legislature adjourns.

The compromise would set aside $250 million for the state’s public pension debt to be spent after an audit of the retirement systems. It would leave the state with just over $300 million in reserves and include a program to offer free tuition to community college students. But it would spend less money on the pension system overall to make the budget balance.

___

10:45 a.m.

Tensions between Republicans and Democrats over Kentucky’s more than $65 billion spending plan escalated overnight, with the Republican governor calling a news conference to blame House leaders for refusing to negotiate.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said he and Republican legislative leaders were willing to compromise to pass a budget before the legislature adjourns for the year. But he said Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo was not being truthful and told reporters not to be played by Stumbo’s bluffs.

Stumbo told reporters Bevin should spend less time making silly Facebook videos and pick up the phone and call him. Bevin posted a video late Monday night calling on the legislature to pass a budget.

House and Senate leaders are meeting again Tuesday to negotiate.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide