Governor Steve Beshear announced today that he's calling a special session for May 24th to consider the budget, the road plan and a revenue package that was agreed to by both the House and the Senate prior to the end of the regular session. In announcing the session, the Governor is also offering a proposal to end the budget stalemate between the House and the Senate
The proposal offers what the Governor described as a blend of the House and Senate versions; however, it appears to be most of the Senate version. It includes no new taxes and maintains certain spending priorities rather than across-the-board spending cuts. The Governor outlined priority agencies as all of education, state police, prosecutors, economic development, natural resources, Medicaid and other public health agencies and the corrections system.
For all agencies other than the priority agencies, he is proposing a reduction of 3.5% in 2011 and 4.5% in 2012 compared to the 2010 budget. The priority agencies will receive something less than that.
The Governor is also proposing a biennial budget as is required by the constitution and as was included in the Senate proposal. He also includes efficiency goals in both 2011 and 2012 that were included in his original budget.
The structural imbalance is also reduced by approximately $400 million. He includes a carry forward of $279 million in the second year to mitigate deeper cuts.
The Medicaid proposal is as proposed by the House, but includes cost containment measures that were included in the Governor's original budget.
In answer to a question on what other items he may include in the call his reply was only those items where there is an agreement between the House and the Senate. He reiterated that point throughout the press conference and at one point stated he would love to have the unemployment insurance bill included in the call but would not do unless there is an agreement.
For now, the only items on the call are to be the budget, road plan, and what was agreed to by the House and the Senate in the revenue bill (HB 530) that was proposed in the House. It does not include any new taxes or any new recurring revenue.
Download the press conference packet HERE