No veto decisions yet as Beshear delves into budget he's 'excited about' -- for the most part

04/03/2014 04:21 PM

In general, Gov. Steve Beshear said Thursday he’s “excited” about the budget lawmakers passed Monday because it kept in many of his top priorities of funding schools, adding money for preschool and restoring cuts to child care programs.

Beshear, though, did not rule out taking his veto pen to provisions in the $20 billion two-year spending plan. However, he offered no hints as to what he might veto. He said he and his staff are reviewing the budget document as well as other bills lawmakers approved in the last week.

Beshear has until the end of next week to make those decisions, and the General Assembly is returning April 14 to consider overriding any such vetoes.

Here’s Beshear’s general take on the budget:

Beshear also downplayed the long term effect of the legislature’s inclusion of tax breaks for the bourbon and alcohol industries in the revenue bill that passed along with the budget. Some progressives have expressed concern that those tax breaks will erode state revenue and takes off the table key deal sweeteners in a future tax reform package.

The final version of the budget also includes a shallower cut to public universities than the 2.5 percent cut Beshear first proposed. Universities will see their state funding levels trimmed back 1.5 percent next year, then flat-lined in the second year of the biennium.

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said Thursday he’s pleased the cuts were rolled back but said the continued erosion of state funding has created a major challenge for UK and other public universities.


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