After much debate, the Kentucky House of Representatives passed its budget to fund state government for the next two years this week. The $20.3 billion spending plan is nearly identical to one proposed by Gov. Steve Beshear, and it largely preserves funding for K through 12 education, which has been a stated priority of the governor.
The sparring over the plan on the House floor could be a sign of things to come in November, when many lawmakers are up for re-election.
In a sprawling five-hour debate, House members argued over how best to spend the money of Kentucky taxpayers.
“Mr. Speaker, this is an important budget. And I think anyone who votes yes on this budget today can feel good about that vote,” said Rick Rand, Democratic House budget chair.
Rand sponsored a last-minute substitute to the budget that counteracted a slew of Republican amendments, including one from GOP Rep. Joe Fischer that would repeal the state’s Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and defund Kentucky’s health insurance exchange, Kynect.