Bevin announces veto of entire budget, tax reform legislation

04/09/2018 01:31 PM

FRANKFORT — In a Monday press conference Gov. Matt Bevin announced he would veto the entire budget bill and tax reform legislation passed by the General Assembly, which is under a GOP super majority in both chambers.

Legislative leaders in the House and Senate have dug in on their plan, and are calling on Bevin to meet with them before signing the veto.

Bevin said he was vetoing the bills, because of concern that they were not fiscally responsible. He said the plans would have unintended consequences and he feared there were already businesses considering locating in Kentucky, that might rethink that decision.

“The reality is the money is not there and we’re kicking the can down the road, and that is not responsible it is not wise… I did not take this job to make people politically happy, necessarily,” he said Monday morning speaking in the State Reception Room.

Bevin said he wanted to work with lawmakers to “come up with a smart, thoughtful, more balanced approach,” on the tax plan and the budget bill. Bevin said his budget was more fiscally responsible.

Bevin’s budget proposal also contains $600 million less in spending.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and acting House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, responded to Bevin’s vetoes saying they were comfortable with the legislation they had passed and sent to the Republican governor.

“We believe Governor Bevin is misguided in his interpretation of the budget and the revenue bills, as we are comfortable with LRC staff revenue projections. To our knowledge, the Governor has had no discussions with any legislators on the details of this budget and what he might consider to be a shortfall. We believe Governor Bevin would be best served to meet with legislators to understand their thoughts and rationale before making a final decision on vetoing the revenue and/or budget bills.”

Lawmakers return to session on Friday, and will have Saturday to override any vetoes the governor issues.

When asked about the possibility of a veto override, Bevin said they could do that, but didn’t know why lawmakers would want to override.

“They didn’t address things that need to be addressed — they don’t take into consideration necessary government expenditures or NGEs as they’re often called, these things need to be addressed we need to govern in a different way — so I think they’ll get that done and we’ll see as how to how it proceeds,” Bevin said. “My point is this, we have time to work and we’ll work on this and get this done.”

On tax reform, Bevin said he didn’t know that there was time to pass a comprehensive tax reform plan that he favored. Bevin said the plan should be more comprehensive, thoughtful and nuanced, but he didn’t lay out the exact measures he would like to see enacted.

Bevin also remarked on the pension reform legislation, applauding lawmakers for their work, but he has not yet decided what he what he will do with the bill.

“I have made very clear that I appreciate what has been done on that, it’s not nearly enough — not even close to being enough,” he said. “But it’s a good first step,” Bevin said of the plan.

Advocacy group the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow said the veto from Bevin presents lawmakers another opportunity to eradicate smoking related illnesses, with an increased tax on cigarettes.

“Gov. Bevin’s veto creates another opportunity for legislators to save money and save lives. Raising the cigarette tax by at least $1 would reduce public health care expenditures and help create a healthier, more competitive workforce.

“Treating smoking-related illness in Kentucky costs $1.92 billion annually, nearly $590 million of which is paid for through Medicaid. Raising the cigarette tax an additional $1, to $1.60 per pack, would keep Kentucky’s tax competitive with border states, and would lead to nearly 55,000 fewer smokers and savings of $1.07 billion in long-term health care costs for the state. These cost savings would outweigh declines in revenue over time as the tax reduces smoking rates, creating a net budget gain.”


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