Budget Negotiations Down To The Wire In Frankfort
Budget negotiations are scheduled to resume in Frankfort this afternoon. Lawmakers have only hours to hammer out a final compromise in time for the end of the legislative session.
Legislators have to come to an agreement by early Thursday morning to get a budget document prepared for a vote in both legislative chambers sometime on Friday, when the General Assembly officially ends.
Budget talks are expected to go into the early morning.
The stakes of meeting the deadline are high: Yesterday, Gov. Matt Bevin announced he would not call a special legislative session to give lawmakers more time to negotiate.
If lawmakers don’t reach an agreement by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, the state will be thrown into a partial government shutdown, with only necessary government services staying open.
Negotiations have been fraught so far. Senate Republicans are going along with Bevin’s plans to put more money into the state’s ailing pension systems by cutting most of state government by 9 percent over the next two years.
House Democrats are going along with those cuts, but along the way they’ve tried to shield K-12 and higher education from reductions while pushing for a free community college tuition program and shifting all coal severance tax revenue to coal counties.
Lawmakers say they’ve come to a compromise on higher education cuts — 4.5 percent to state colleges and universities — but are still at odds over how to allocate much of the $21 billion two-year budget.