House committee discussion leads to accusations and defense of Bevin Administration

02/08/2016 08:45 PM

FRANKFORT – Democratic and Republican lawmakers got into a heated debate over leadership in the administration of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin in a committee meeting on Monday.

Democratic members of the House Budget Review Subcommittee on Human Resources questioned cabinet officials about why there are no specifics on how their department would be affected by the 4.5 percent cuts in the current fiscal year and the 9 percent cuts in the upcoming biennium.

Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, criticized Bevin’s administration for its lack of specific on the proposed cuts, saying that he felt that there was a lack of leadership at the top.

“It really concerns me that we don’t have answers,” Wayne said. “I’m blaming on the top from the governor down to the secretaries and the budget directors. We need leadership at the top, and we don’t see it here.”

Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Tim Feeley, who moved into his position three days ago, defended the fact that there were no specifics in terms of any potential cuts, but he emphasized that he doesn’t forsee any programs or services being eliminated.

“We’re in a difficult time and we’re going to do what we can to keep all services in place and to streamline and improve them,” Feeley said. “We’re not looking to cut any programs unless they’re useless.”

Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, emphasized that Gov. Bevin inherited a situation with the budget which has been brewing for years and there is no easy fix.

“This governor, and this General Assembly has been handed a crisis and the crisis has worsened over the last few years,” Wuchner said. “We’re at a crossroads right now.”

Rep. Bob DeWeese, R-Louisville, felt that some of the Democratic members of the committee were unfairly critical of the new governor.

“The election is over and we have to get down and go to work,” DeWeese said. “Whether you like it or not, somebody else is in control now and they’re calling the shots. And our objection of this committee should be constructive criticism and not laying it all on the blame of the governor.”


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