Beshear vetoes parts of budget and transportation bills

June 04, 2010 | | Comments 21

Gov. Steve Beshear


By Beth Musgrave and Jack Brammer –

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear vetoed 19 provisions in the state budget lawmakers approved late last week, including a provision that would cut the salary of Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes by more than $120,000 a year.

The governor also vetoed provisions that would protect federally-funded state employees from being furloughed and deleted the legislature’s mandated changes to the state employees’ health insurance plan.

Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said they needed time to review the vetoes before commenting on them. Lawmakers do not have the ability to override Beshear’s vetoes since the General Assembly adjourned its special legislative session to approve the budget on May 29.

In general, Beshear said his line-item vetoes were necessary because the provisions restricted his ability to implement spending cuts mandated by the two-year spending plan, which calls for cuts of 3.5 percent in the first year and 4.5 percent in the second year for most state agencies. Without those cuts, the state faced a projected shortfall of nearly $1.5 billion over the next two years.

“My administration must have maximum flexibility to manage state government through these extremely difficult times, while continuing to provide essential services to our people,” he said in a news release.

Beshear said the $17.3 billion budget the legislature approved “is not what I wanted, and not what I originally proposed. However, it is better than having to shut down state government, and I will work hard to minimize its impact on Kentucky families.”

The Democratic governor said he vetoed language dealing with Hayes’ salary, which is $250,000 a year, because “the plain language” of a state law says the Kentucky Economic Development Partnership Board shall set the salary of the secretary and it is exempt from state employee salary limitations.

Beshear also vetoed language that directed his administration to make specific cuts to the number of non-merit employees, many of who are political appointees, and the amount spent on contracts with private companies. For example, the House and Senate had asked Beshear to reduce the salaries of political hires by about $10 million.

Beshear, in his explanation of the veto, said his administration must make nearly $131 million in cuts in the first fiscal year if of the two-year budget, which begins July 1, and $168 million in cuts in the second year of the budget. Vetoing the specific targets will give him more discretion in how to make those cuts, Beshear said.

In his veto message, Beshear said the cuts lawmakers mandated to contracts “would result in harsh cutbacks to education, economic development and care for Kentuckians with mental illness and mental retardation.”

Likewise, he said mandated changes to the state employees’ health insurance plan needlessly limited the administration’s cost-cutting options. Even though specific changes to the plan are no longer set in the budget, Beshear will still have to come up with more than $94 million in savings.

The state personnel cabinet will now have to develop its own health insurance plan that lives within the prescribed spending levels, Beshear said.

Beshear also slashed a series of provisions that protected certain Medicaid programs from cuts. And he vetoed language that would require the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to study whether a Medicaid management care program based in Louisville should be expanded to other areas of the state. The issue of expanding managed care for Medicaid had been discussed during the regular legislative session and sparked disagreement between Stumbo and Beshear.

In addition to the budget, Beshear vetoed parts of House Bill 3, the operating budget of the state Transportation Cabinet.

Included in that veto were two projects — a maintenance facility in Shelby County and a salt storage facility in Spencer County. Deputy State Budget Director John Hicks said Beshear vetoed those projects because the legislature did not appropriate enough money to cover the total costs of building them.

Beshear did not veto any provisions in three other bills, including the state’s $6.7 billion road-building plan.

Other items in the state budget that were vetoed by Beshear include:

■ $1.3 million for a fairgrounds project in Hopkins County and $1 million to replace two water tanks in Liberty.

■ Language dealing with the awarding of grants from the Local Government Economic Development Fund.

■ a $1 million grant to the Allen County Industrial Authority to build a storage facility for J.M. Smucker Co.

■ Funding for six Economic Development Innovation and Commercialization Centers and seven Satellite Innovation Centers dealing with economic development.

■ $500,000 for tree nursery programs in Marshall and Morgan counties.

■ Unspecified funds for an urban trauma center hospital in Louisville from the Medicaid program.

Filed Under: KY General AssemblyLarry HayesState BudgetState GovernmentSteve Beshear

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  1. bub says:

    God forbid he cut the salary of one of the leaches sucking the taxpayers dry….. This is one of the worst governors ever… Worse than Ernie Fletcher…. Has Kentucky ever had a good Governor?

  2. William says:

    Yes…William Goebel.

  3. billy ray says:

    what a state

  4. beaverbear says:

    Gov. Goebel was governor for a few minutes before he died from being shot.

  5. SOSG says:

    I guess the non merits keep their high paying jobs while the merit employees have six days of furlough to look forward to.

  6. William says:

    That’s the joke, BeaverBear. Thanks for playing.

  7. Lisa says:


  8. s.smith says:

    Well, Kentucky deserves the non-professional part-time legislature. One smart Governor knowing that his line item vetoes will stand because the legislature is not on the premises. If Kentucky is to move forward it needs a full-time professional legislature that is there 24-7 operating in the global economy. Former Governor Julian Carroll does not want a professional legislature because it is too much responsibility and requires actual work.

  9. jimbob says:

    Lisa – what kind of computer are you using, Remington Rand, IBM Selectric? There is a shift key on there somewhere! Use it.


  10. kyn says:

    Don’t blame Steve B. It is the obstructionist, David Williams, that is the problem in Frankfort. Nothing proposed by the Dems is acceptable to David W and he will block it. No progress as long as David W and the Dems are more interested in their own power brokerage than solving the problems of the citizens.

  11. GinaL says:

    jimbob, Lisa is just yelling like tea party members always do. The more the yell they more they think you will believe their conservative views. We have bad politicians; follow the tea party and the country will crash and burn.

  12. twt says:

    SOSG – you got it right. I feel like he’s going to implement the furlough since his has the authority to do so. Show your power GOV. I’m disappointed with the whole crew & I’ll be voting for newbies this fall.

  13. realitycheck says:

    *Funding for six Economic Development Innovation and Commercialization Centers and seven Satellite Innovation Centers dealing with economic development.

    These Centers were a waste of money from Day 1.

  14. Bob says:

    Why veto employees who are 100% federal funded, so all employees have to sacrifice? Doesn’t he know that the state loses money by not having the 100 % federal funded employees working. If they get paid less from the federal government then they pay less state taxes and have less money to spend and buy things, which again brings in state revenues! All I want is a government who makes some common sense decisions!

  15. H. Crist says:

    S. Smith says KY needs a professional, full-time legislature. God forbid! I say go back to every other year sessions like we used to have…and that was too much. All these politicians do when they get together is increase the size of government and spend more money.

  16. George says:

    GinaL, when you learn how to type maybe you can criticize others for the way they type. There is no way any intelligent person can support this governor. He is a joke just like that guy in DC and all his little sheep. Say what you want about the Tea Party but what we need is some accountability in government and the current administration, state and federal, is any but accountable. If this is change, I don’t want any more of it. obama and Beshear are examples of why stupid people should not be allowed to vote.

  17. Jake says:

    Bob, he vetoed furloughs for those that are federally funded, the legislator mandated furloughs across the board, fed funded employees also. you misread it, he did the correct move.

  18. Two Term Gov Not Needed says:

    I would like to see Beshear hit the door next election cycle, simply because I am afraid what he will do once he gets a second term and doesn’t have to worry about another election. He paid an environmentalist group $200,000 last week to come talk about encouraging Kentucky farmers to quit using a tractor and start using oxen and mules to do there chores.

  19. Magnolia says:

    Good Lord!! Politicians who vote on bills they don’t even read. What are they being paid to do? Isn’t this a part of their job description.

  20. Melissa says:

    The article says “The governor also vetoed provisions that would protect federally-funded state employees from being furloughed…” which from the way I am reading it says he can furlough 100% federally funded employees. This is the dumbest thing ever, the state could potentially loose money by furloughing those employees paid for out of federal grants because if you don’t spend those dollars they go back to DC. This is one of the many reasons I left a 100% federally funded position with the state 2 months ago. Not all non-merit employees are political appointees.

  21. Buck Feshear says:

    Want me to name governors worse than Fletcher? That’s easy.

    (Collins is marginal)

    Only ones I’d give kudos to from Kentucky’s recent past are Fletcher, Wilkinson, Combs and Chandler