Beshear plans to offer budget plan next week, releases few details

Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday reiterated the budget woes Kentucky is facing as he continued a sweep through the state to close out his first year in office and prepare for the 2009 legislative session.

Gov. Steve Beshear

Gov. Steve Beshear

During a meeting with the Messenger-Inquirer’s editorial board, the governor said he expects to release a plan next week to help close an estimated $456.1 million revenue shortfall, but shared few details about what cuts or revenue measures that plan might contain.

“My whole term as governor has been dominated by a financial crisis in the state and the country and now the world,” Beshear said. “… It is much more likely that we could consider ways of raising revenue today than it was last January because of the depth of the crisis.”

Much of the talk heading into the 2009 session has centered around a possible cigarette tax increase given that Beshear offered a proposed 70-cent increase during this year’s session that would bring an estimated $200 million to the state annually. 

Beshear remained noncommittal on a cigarette tax proposal or any other revenue proposals, saying any plans to generate more revenue would come only after he sees proposals from state agencies currently being developed to cut their own budgets by 4 percent. 

“At that point, if I haven’t filled the $456 million hole up, then my only option is to look at some kind of additional revenue,” Beshear said.

When asked about whether a cigarette tax increase had a better chance of passage now than in the spring, Beshear said that was “still an open question.”

“I do think that the current financial circumstances have created a more open environment on that issue and on that question,” Beshear said. 

Read more about the interview with Beshear in Saturday’s Messenger-Inquirer.


One Response

  1. The next session will probably resemble Monte Hall’s “Let’s Make a Deal”. Behind door number one, we have “increase the cigarette tax”. Door number two, slots at the race tracks. Door number three, toll roads and bridges. So which door will you choose? I bet they choose all three.

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