Kentucky Political News Headlines

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beshear: Special session possible

See the article below from the Herald-Leader's Bluegrass Politics blog.


Beshear: Special session possible: "FRANKFORT -- Governor Steve Beshear is leaving open the possibility of a special legislative session in coming weeks to approve economic incentives for a possible Harley-Davidson plant in Shelbyville.

Gov. Steve Beshear

Harley-Davidson officials said last week that the Shelbyville location is the only one it's considering if it relocates its York, Pa. plant.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development has remained mum on what type of incentives the state is considering to lure the plant to Kentucky. The York plant employs 2,500 people. Harley-Davidson has also said it may stay in Pennsylvania.

The Kentucky Gazette, a Frankfort political publication, said on its Web site Thursday that Senate leaders had been warned by Beshear that he may call a special legislative session the week of Dec. 13, just a few weeks before a regular legislative session begins Jan. 5.

Beshear's office would not confirm whether Beshear would call a special legislative session, but Beshear said Thursday that economic incentives for Harley-Davidson would be the only item on the agenda if a special session is called.

'We are very excited about the potential opportunity for Harley Davidson to locate a facility in the Commonwealth,' Beshear said. ' We are making plans related to this project and don’t know if there will be a need for a special session at this juncture.'

-- Beth Musgrave"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

State revenues down again in October

Revised 3:15 p.m.: Road Fund also down 4%. Here is a link to the full report: Click Here

See the note below from the Herald-Leader's blog on Kentucky politics.

State revenues down again in October: "FRANKFORT -- Kentucky's revenues continued to decline in October, dipping 4 percent compared to last year, according to figures released Tuesday.

The state's General Fund receipts have declined 5.2 percent during the first four months of the fiscal year, according to the Office of State Budget Director. To meet the state's official revenue estimate, receipts must increase 0.2 percent over the remaining eight months of the fiscal year.

October's poor performance was expected by the Consensus Forecasting Group, a group of independent economists who help the state predict how much revenue it will receive each year, State Budget Director Mary Lassiter said in a written release that

In October, the Consensus Forecasting Group projected that there could be a revenue shortfall of $161 million in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The group will return in December to make official predictions for this fiscal year and the next two years.

'While the ($161 million shortfall) is unofficial at this time, we are very concerned about the ability of revenues to meet budgeted levels,' Lassiter said. 'The Beshear administration remains committed to tight fiscal management as the commonwealth endures what we hope is the tail end of this persistent economic downturn.'

The state receives most of its money through sales and income taxes. Sales and use tax receipts were down 4.3 percent in October over the previous year, figures show.

One bright spot: cigarette taxes grew 53 percent from October 2008 because of a 30 cent tax increase the Kentucky legislature approved earlier this year. For the first four months of the fiscal year, taxes from cigarettes were up 72.3 percent.

-- Beth Musgrave"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lawmakers will face a $1.19 billion question

The Herald-Leader has a good article today that further lays out the budget woes the General Assembly and Governor will grapple with in the 2010 session.

Lawmakerswill face a$1.19 billionquestion: "When lawmakers return to Frankfort in January, one number will loom large: $1.19 billion.

According to preliminary estimates, that's how much money lawmakers must find in the couch cushions of state government to continue spending at current levels through June 2012.

The state still has $485 million of federal stimulus money to throw at its budget gap, but bridging the remaining $705 million shortfall could create headaches for just about everybody, including students, state workers, the poor and the sick.

Despite the state's money woes, proposals by two lawmakers from different ends of the political spectrum to overhaul Kentucky's tax system won't likely gain approval in the upcoming legislative session.

Rep. Bill Farmer, R-Lexington, and Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, have re-filed separate and very different plans for systemic tax reform. Although different in most ways, both plans call for extending the state's sales tax to services ranging from manicures to engineering work."