WKU Public Radio News Staff
Sun March 30, 2014
Budget Deal Reached by House and Senate Lawmakers Cuts Funding for State Universities by 1.5%
Top Kentucky House and Senate lawmakers appear to have reached an agreement on the state's next two-year budget.
The Herald-Leader reports that negotiators from both chambers hammered out a budget deal after being cloistered in a committee room at the Capitol Annex in Frankfort Saturday night. They emerged from the room at around 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
Many of the sticking points worked out in the overnight meeting involved funding for higher education and money for K-12 education.
The blueprint would cut the operational budgets of state universities by 1.5 percent, which is less than the 2.5 percent cut proposed by Governor Steve Beshear. Most schools, like WKU, would be allowed to choose a top priority building project that would be paid for by general fund bonds and agency bonds.
Kentucky's community and technical colleges would also see their operational budgets cut by 1.5 percent.
Under the compromise, pay raises for public school teachers would be required of school districts, as opposed to being recommended. A 1 percent increase would take place in fiscal 2015, with a 2 percent bump occurring in fiscal 2016.
The proposed budget would fund an $18 million expansion of preschool programs beginning in the second half of the two-year budget cycle.
Instant Racing games, which allow gamblers to place wagers on horse races that have already been run, would face a 1.5 percent tax beginning April 1.
State inspectors will be required to visit each active underground coal mine in the state four times a year, down from the six visits each year required by current law.