Movement afoot to limit how much Kentucky's legislature can put on the state's credit card

01/12/2012 07:21 AM

An effort to cap Kentucky’s debt level by amending the state’s constitution passed its first test Wednesday, clearing the Senate state government committee by a 7-3 vote.

Senate Bill 56 , sponsored by Republican Sen. Joe Bowen of Owensboro, would amend the constitution to cap the total general fund debt — often from the sale of bonds to cover construction projects — at 6 percent of state revenue.

That has typically been the rough standard lawmakers have used, but they don’t have to stick to that.

Bowen said after the committee vote that it’s a necessary step.

Three Democrats voted against the bill, saying they were concerned that adding the language into the constitution would be particularly limiting in an emergency.

Democratic Sens. R.J. Palmer of Winchester, Walter Blevins of Sandy Hook and Johnny Ray Turner of Drift voted “no.” Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, passed.

Here’s what Palmer said:

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