Williams won't say whether education cuts are negotiable, says Senate will be there Monday

03/10/2011 06:12 PM

Senate President David Williams wouldn’t say whether Senate Republicans would agree to spare education from cuts as lawmakers prepare for a special session do address a Medicaid shortfall.

The Senate and House leaders failed to agree on an approach to plugging the $100 million hole in Medicaid, which covers health care for more than 800,000 poor and disabled Kentuckians.

Gov. Steve Beshear wanted lawmakers to move money forward from next year’s budget to cover the gap and then implement efficiencies next year to make up the money in 2012.

But Williams said Beshear’s administration hasn’t proven capable enough to do that, and Senate Republicans countered with a plan to cut government across the board, including trimming money for K-12 and universities in 2012.

When House Democrats and Republicans balked at that idea, negotiations locked up, culminating with the session ending abruptly Wednesday and Beshear calling a special session Monday.

Williams said while Senate Republicans want an agreement first before starting the session, the Senate will go into session on Monday as directed by the governor and won’t “gavel out” to end the session immediately.

Williams, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor and could face Beshear in the fall election, took issue with the governor’s demeanor in recent days.

“We hope that the governor will take a deep breath and calm down a little bit,” Williams said. “Up to this juncture at the press conferences … he’s very vitriolic and personal.”

- Ryan Alessi


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