Beshear vetoes requirement to save $80 mil. among 45 provisions and earmarks

04/11/2012 08:23 PM

Add another wrinkle to the last day of the legislative session: considering the override of any of Gov. Steve Beshear’s vetoes within the $19 billion two-year state budget bill.

Beshear on Wednesday evening made 45 cuts to the budget bill the House and Senate approved on March 30. Lawmakers can vote to override the vetoes Thursday — the 60th and final day of the 2012 General Assembly.

Beshear divided his vetoes into three categories. He struck 13 provisions because he said they limited his administration’s ability to manage executive branch money. He crossed out eight “earmarks” for projects or programs that he said didn’t come funding sources. And he cut 24 provisions for reducing “flexibility on budget and program management.” Click here to download Beshear’s veto message: Budget Veto Message.pdf

That last category included a requirement for Beshear to save $40 million through efficiencies each year in the biennium — a key point of compromise during the final budget negotiations between House and Senate leaders. Beshear left in the language but removed the specific amount of $40 million each year.

In a statement, Beshear said those requirements “inhibit the administration’s ability to successfully manage the implementation of the budget.”

“Lawmakers added $80 million in unspecified reductions over the biennium – on top of the 8.4 percent already mandated for many agencies,” he said. “They also passed other bills with financial impacts that are not reflected in the final numbers, which expands the budget gap.”

Legislative leaders didn’t immediately have a response to Beshear’s specific vetoes.

“The Governor’s budget veto message was drafted in an obscure way,” said a brief statement from Republican Senate President David Williams of Burkesville. “Our office is in the process of conducting an analysis of the governor’s objections to a bipartisan budget.”

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s office said House leaders would comment Thursday.

Among those earmarks the governor vetoed were several specific items in the tourism department including:

  • $150,000 each year for RiverPark Center in Owensboro to host the International Mystery Writers’ Festival.
  • $100,000 each year to support Actors Theater in Lousiville.
  • And $14,500 for Pine Mountain State Park in Bell County to buy a new curtain divider.


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