Wednesday, March 16, 2016

KY Dems Reject Austerity, Prove Bevin's Budget is Bullshit

Democrats in the Kentucky House aren't falling for the old "shared sacrifice" budget con; they know that repugs always mean the poor and working class sacrifice while the rich pocket yet more profits.

Kentucky House Democrats used their reinforced majority to reject nearly half of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's budget cuts Tuesday while still managing to fully fund required contributions to the state's struggling public pension systems without borrowing money.

The House Appropriations and Revenue committee approved a two-year state spending plan Tuesday, with the full House scheduled to vote on the plan Wednesday. Most Republicans on the committee voted "pass," meaning they did not vote for or against the bill. Rep. Jim Stewart of Flat Lick was the only Republican to vote "yes."

Bevin, the state's second Republican governor in four decades, quickly declared the state was in a financial disaster less than two months after taking office and called for $650 million in spending cuts in his first budget proposal. The reductions included a 4.5 percent cut this year and 9 percent cuts in each of the next two years, with a lot of that money coming from the state's public colleges and universities.

College presidents revolted, calling the cuts "draconian" and warning about massive tuition increases, program cuts and, in one instance, possible closure if the cuts were approved. Bevin did not relent, telling a crowd of community college supporters in the Capitol rotunda that "the cuts have to come from somewhere" and declaring as recently as last week he would not sign a budget that did not include the cuts.

But Democrats ran against Bevin's budget cuts in a series of special elections last week, winning three of the four seats to give them a 53-47 majority in the House. It takes 51 votes to pass a budget. Tuesday, they rejected all of Bevin's cuts to colleges and universities.

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