Beshear, legislative leaders meet to discuss schedule for budget shortfall work

Gov. Steve Beshear and members of leadership from the House and Senate met for more than an hour this afternoon to talk about how to develop a plan to address the state’s estimated $456.1 million budget shortfall. 

Beshear said following the meeting that he was hoping to have a plan in place by the time the legislature reconvenes on Feb. 3. 

Earlier in the day,  several bills were introduced in the House that will be used as vehicles for the proposal, but the details of what that proposal will contain haven’t been worked out or agreed upon, Beshear said. 

Legislators will likely have hearings during the next three weeks even though the full House and Senate won’t be meeting to try to iron out a plan both chambers can agree upon, Beshear said. 

“As we develop a plan to address the budget shortfall, we’ll be able to plug that plan into those vehicles and be able to move that much faster,” Beshear said. “I think we’re off to a good start.”

Beshear was joined by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Senate President David Williams and other Democratic and Republican leaders from each chamber.

Beshear said it is unlikely that a proposal to allow slot machines at horse tracks that is being pushed by House Speaker Greg Stumbo would offer the state much financial help this year, and therefore isn’t a high priority for him right now.

“That’s not really on the front burner for me right now,” Beshear said. “My biggest immediate problem is this current shortfall and whatever might happen in the gaming area wouldn’t really help us address that.”

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