With only three days left in this year’s General Assembly, we finally have a budget.
Except, we don’t. Sorta.
The Senate and House passed the budget bill on Monday, and sent it on to Governor Beshear. He can veto items in it if he chooses, but the legislature can override his vetoes with a simple majority vote.
The budget, as passed, cuts out a number of items Beshear had asked for, like raises for teachers, and puts that money into the state’s rainy-day fund. This move caused most Democrats to vote against the budget.
However, the budget does not allocate any of the Federal monies coming from the American Rescue Plan. Instead, it simple says that the governor cannot spend any of it without authorization from the legislature.
But, the lege will be done before the money gets here. So, there is talk of a second budget bill, and a special session to consider it. Or, trying to get that done in the few days left in the session.
And, Senate President Stivers talked about the possibility of THREE budgets this year. It’s not clear what he means, but perhaps there’s hope for some of that rainy-day money to actually be spent on investing in our people.
The most hopeful thing to come out of the past few days in Frankfort is that it appears the gov and the legislative leaders are actually talking about the budget(s), and not just communicating through press conferences. Let’s hope that continues.
And for heaven’s sake, let’s not stuff the money under the mattress, when so many people are hurting. People need help now. If ever there was a rainy day, this is it.