Legislators don’t like the budget.
Hours after weary House and Senate budget negotiators finished a patchwork $19 billion spending plan, other lawmakers began blasting it for what they considered fatal deficiencies: education and health program cuts, paltry teacher raises, and few projects.
The wave of frustration that crested suddenly Tuesday -- especially among House Democrats -- now puts in jeopardy the prospect of passing the two-year state budget, which legislative leaders had hoped to do Wednesday.
The Governor doesn’t like the budget.
“However, I can say I’m disappointed that the proposed budget does not include any plan for additional, recurring revenue so desperately needed by Kentucky.
“As you recall I proposed not one but two plans for recurring revenue -- namely expanded gaming and an increase in the state’s low cigarette tax -- in an effort to move the state forward in the areas of education, health care, public safety and economic development.
Brereton Jones thinks Beshear screwed up handling expanded gambling.
Former Gov. Brereton Jones, who was instrumental in persuading Steve Beshear to run for governor, is criticizing Beshear's handling of a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling in Kentucky.
Beshear was "in the perfect position of getting it done and he did not," Jones said Tuesday in an interview. He is chairman of the Kentucky Equine Education Project, which pushed casinos.
I think Casinos are a bad idea, but Jones is right, Beshear just didn’t get it done.
So what can Governor Steve Beshear do? Here are a few suggestions.
First, if that mass of Jell-O, the General Assembly, actually passes the budget the Governor should veto it. If the legislature doesn’t pass a budget we move to step two.
Second, the Governor should call the legislature into special session after the May primary election. He should privately threaten to keep calling them into session until the November election unless they pass a reasonable budget. This keeps legislators with contested campaigns from raising money, a real motivator to get something done.
Third, hand Jody Richards and Harry Moberly the budget bill with tax increases and projects. Tell them they can change commas but they can’t change the substance of the bill. Make it clear that if they screw this up then Governor will not be pleased.
Fourth, take David Williams to the wood shed, something long overdue, and hang every painful program cut back on his head. Give Williams a diplomatic way out but make it clear that you, as Governor, will make his life a living hell in every possible way unless he cooperates. Believe me a Governor can do this even to David Williams.
Fifth, drag every waffling member of the legislature, Democrat and Republican, into a one on one session with the Governor and his staff and make it damn clear that screwing with the Governor on this will make their life incredibly unpleasant. Tell then what they are getting, what it’s going to cost them and what they need to say in public.
Sixth, take the message of what government cut backs mean to every citizen to the public forum. The Governor has the bully pulpit. He should use it. The mainstream media is lazy. He can supply them with an endless amount of information on why his plan is good and why David Williams and his toadies are evil.
Bottom line Steve Beshear needs to grow a pair and quit being Mr. Nice Guy.