Senate budget borrows from Bevin’s bad ideas

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Like a predictable sequel to a bad movie, the Senate released its own version of Bevin’s Bad Budget Strikes Back.

The Senate’s budget has many of the cuts featured in Gov. Bevin’s budget proposal, including a nine percent reduction in funding for Kentucky colleges and universities.

The Senate also cut funding for specific projects like school renovations, the Lexington Convention Center and help for areas hit hard by a drop in the coal industry. There were also $1.5 million in cuts to Court Appointed Children’s Advocates (CASA) programs, $15 million to renovate the Kentucky School for the Blind and $1 million a year to promote breast and cervical cancer screening for women.

The Senate budget also scrapped the House’s plan to establish a Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship program, which would make tuition free for high school graduates who enroll in the state’s community colleges. Gov. Bevin’s plan had been to dedicate $100 million to unspecific “workforce development” projects.

Senate Republicans weren’t in unison with the Senate’s plan, with Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, casting a “no” vote. He said he was disappointed in the removal of aide for stricken coal-producing areas.

The Senate’s budget, like Gov. Bevin’s, would suspend prevailing wage for any public works construction projects. Without prevailing wage, projects can have cheaper, less-skilled and less-productive workers.

Lawmakers have a week to work out all the details and get a final version to the governor by March 30. For a look at the unofficial copy, click here.

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