Kentucky to get another look at revenues, economic future on Friday

A meeting of the Consensus Forecasting Group on Friday will give state leaders another look at the shape of Kentucky’s finances this fiscal year and predictions about how the rest of the year is shaping up. 

The seven-member group is composed of independent economists charged with making predictions about state revenues and meets regularly to update state leaders and the public. The group’s predictions are particularly important come budget time when they become the basis of the state’s two-year spending plan. 

Tomorrow’s meeting follows the announcement by Gov. Steve Beshear last month that the state was facing a shortfall of close to $300 million in general fund revenues for the current fiscal year ending June 30. 

At an Oct. 30 press conference, Beshear talked about his “three-point action plan” for the next several weeks that starts with asking the Consensus Forecasting Group to finalize revenue projections for the year.

After those projections are made, Beshear said he plans to forming a plan to address the shortfall that includes spending cuts and may include revenue measures and then bounce those ideas off of state residents, interest groups and legislators.

Beshear’s announcement included talk of a special session next year to consider revenue measures that could include an increase in the cigarette tax. Beshear floated that idea midway through the 2008 legislative session, but it failed to gain traction. 

Next year’s special session could come in January while the General Assembly is on a recess from the regular legislative session. 

Tomorrow’s meeting of the Consensus Forecasting Group begins at 10 a.m. EST in Room 327 of the state Capitol in Frankfort.

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