KY House to hold hearings on Senate's debt limit bill, which one leader calls toothless

03/14/2012 06:00 PM

The House will consider the Senate’s legislation aimed at capping Kentucky’s public debt, but one House leader called it a “political and feel-good” bill that has problems.

Rep. Bob Damron, the House Democratic caucus chairman, said the bill — symbolically given the top spot of Senate Bill 1 — exempts large sectors of public debt from counting toward the limit and also can be ignored easily in each budget just by using a simple phrase of “notwithstanding” in the spending plan bill.

“There’s a lot of things in Senate Bill 1 that we’re really going to look at and try to study before we pass something just as a feel-good piece of legislation that is political driven,” Damron said (6:30 of the video).

Watch starting at 5:30 for the specific questions Damron has about the bill.

Damron also talks about why the House took out certain construction projects and the total debt (3:50).

The budget the House approved by a 78-17 vote last week keeps the governor’s recommendation for $21 million over two years to hire additional social workers and support staff. But it cuts in half the $15 million Gov. Steve Beshear requested to expand public funding to cover low-income students to attend preschool. Some of that money went to other programs. The other $7.5 million remains in early childhood education.

But “that always is a potential target for the Senate to remove,” Damron said (2:50).

The interview starts with Damron answering a question about what changes he expects the Senate to make to the budget:


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