Regional
5:23 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

$1.3 Billion In State Contracts Not Unusual, Says Lawmaker

State Sen. Sara Beth Gregory of Monticello
State Sen. Sara Beth Gregory of Monticello
Credit Kentucky LRC

Amid a $91 million state revenue shortfall, the Kentucky legislature’s Government Contract  Review Committee approved $1.3 billion worth of contracts this month. Outgoing Republican Sen. Sara Beth Gregory is a co-chair of the committee. She says the high dollar figure comes at the beginning of a new fiscal year, when  large numbers of contracts are typically renewed -- about 1,700 contracts in July alone.

But Gregory says that there are still contracts that creep into the committee that warrant more scrutiny from the public and the media.

 “It is somewhat surprising how much is overseen by this committee and how much comes before this committee or has the potential to come before this committee with relatively little press coverage,” said Gregory.

Gregory  says  the committee’s decisions can be overruled by the secretary of the finance cabinet, and that the best they can do is try to draw attention to contracts that award more money than they should.

The Legislative Ethics Commission reports that despite a reduction in contracts for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the amount swelled to $3.4 billion from 2007 to 2011.