The Kentucky House of Representative passed an amended version of the budget bill that contains changes made by House Democrats Wednesday evening with a unanimous vote of 53-0 as all Republicans in the legislative body abstained from the vote.
Debate on the House floor went on for hours as amendment after amendment to House Bill 303, the new version of the budget introduced by Democratic majority yesterday, were ruled out of order.
Areas Republican members were looking to amend included trying to secure the $500 million set aside in Bevin’s budget which he has called a “permanent fund” to be used for pensions in the future, differences in opinions over how to fund the state’s woefully underfunded pension systems, money for a veterans’ hospital in Bowling Green and much more.
The budget from the House Democrats includes restoration of budget cuts to the state’s higher education institutions, fully funding the actuarially required contribution (ARC) to the Kentucky Retirement System and the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System, funding for a Work Ready scholarship program and much more.
On the House Floor Wednesday, House Appropriations and Revenue Chairman Rick Rand said the Democratic caucus set out to craft a budget with the goals of funding the state’s retirement systems at the highest level possible, investing in education, minimizing the state’s debt and ensuring the state has a “rainy day” fund. All of these items, Rep. Rand claims, are in this version of the budget.
With the passage of the amended version of House Bill 303, the Senate has now received the budget on day 49 of a 60 day session and can now start making their revisions.