Webb-Edgington says worries of tolls and fees -- not politics -- are behind votes against spending bills

03/21/2012 08:00 PM

State Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington, R-Fort Wright, had been a rather reliable vote for state budget bills since joining the legislation — until this year when she became candidate for Congress.

Webb-Edgington, this month, voted against the two-year spending plan for most state agencies, as well as the judicial and legislative branch budgets. And last week, she was among four state representatives to vote against a pair of road and transportation funding bills.

But Webb-Edgington said her string of “nays” has nothing to do with trying to burnish her conservative credentials while running for the Republican nomination in the 4th Congressional District.

Instead, she said she opposed the $19.5 billion two-year spending bill for two reasons: (1) she didn’t some line items of “fluff,” such as $14,500 for a curtain divider at a state park and (2) she said it left open the possibility of a fee increase when the House version raided $15.5 million from an account.

The money for the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation fund — which pays for police training — comes from a surcharge on insurance premiums, which Webb-Edgington said she fears could be increased in order to make up for the $15.5 million that was moved.

Webb-Edgington previously cast votes on the House floor for general fund budget bills in 2011 (twice in the regular session
and once in the special session.)

She voted against a House version of the budget in the 2010 General Assembly. but voted for the eventually enacted version during the 2010 special session. In 2009, she voted “Yes” on the final approval of a budget amendment bill in a special session. And she voted in favor of a budget amendment bill in the 2009 session in 2009 as well as the two-year spending bill in the 2008 session, which was her first in the General Assembly.

Webb-Edgington said she didn’t recall questionable line-items like the $14,500 curtain divider in those previous budgets:

Webb-Edgington, however, has been consistently wary of the prospect of tolls being put on a future new bridge between Cincinnati and Covington. She has previously voted against road funding bills, such as in 2009 for that reason.

And she said this year’s bill is an endorsement of the Louisville Bridges Authority’s funding plan that includes partially paying for two new bridges between Louisville and Indiana with revenue from tolls. She said that is a “slippery slope.”

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