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Ky. House passes its version of new 2-year state budget

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Posted at 1:50 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 13:54:35-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky House passed its version of a new two-year state budget Friday, but some lawmakers said funding needs would be shortchanged by an unwillingness to tap into more revenue sources.

The GOP-crafted spending plan drew bipartisan support in clearing the House 86-10. The measure goes to the Republican-dominated Senate.

The House version modified Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s proposed pay raise for teachers to spread it to other school employees. It boosted school-security funding to hire hundreds of counselors. The House plan scaled back Beshear’s proposal to add more social workers but offered salary enhancements to hire and retain more of them to work in child protective services.

“It will not be the finished document,” House budget committee Chairman Steven Rudy said. “But I believe that this balanced budget is very responsible and it will help to move the state forward.”

The top-ranking Democrat, Rep. Joni Jenkins, said “there’s lot of common ground” on the spending plan, but said lawmakers should consider more revenue so the state can “move forward more quickly in education and social services.”

The only new revenue source in the House plan would come from new taxes on vaping and tobacco products.