Kentucky could be $1.4 billion short of the revenues needed to meet current spending levels without new revenues and/or deep spending cuts.
Gov. Steve Beshear submitted a budget proposal that relied on $780 million in revenues from expanded gambling.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President David Williams indicate chances of Beshear’s political play to get an expanded gambling golden goose are slim.
Lawmakers effectively dismissed Beshear’s proposal and said they would craft a state budget “from scratch.”
Put this in perspective. The governor chewed up all the budget preparatory time in the timeline to submit a budget that won’t fly. He then punted to the Legislature.
Legislators are part time, not involved with the management of state government and have limited perspective of performance details that make up the numbers.
Wishing and hoping are not sound processes in putting together the state spending plan. Relying on more federal stimulus funding only delays the inevitable. John Garen, Ph.D., Gatton Endowed Professor of Economics at the University of Kentucky, provides a jump-start approach to solving the problem.
Time has come for tough decisions on what’s best for the state. It’s too easy and Kentucky politicians feel too comfortable ducking — including in the form of procrastination — the tough decisions. The spotlights are shining brightly on Kentucky’s $1.4 billion shortfall and its leaders’ actions – not their rhetoric.