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‘Comment’ will discuss budget shortfall; ‘KY Tonight” will focus on economy

Gov. Steve Beshear’s handling of the state budget shortfall will be one of the topics on this weekend’s “Comment on Kentucky,” a public affairs show of the Kentucky Educational Television network.

Joining interim host Bill Bryant of Lexington’s WKYT-TV to discuss recent news in Kentucky will be three journalists — Tom Loftus of The Courier-Journal, Phillip Bailey of WFPL in Louisville and Nick Storm of cn|2 in Louisville.

The show airs live at 8 p.m. Friday on KET.

On the Monday, July 21 edition of “Kentucky Tonight” at 8 p.m. p.m. on KET and at KET.org/live, host Renee Shaw (substituting for Bill Goodman) and guests will discuss jobs and the economy.

Scheduled guests are John Garen, economics professor at the University of Kentucky; Chris Phillips, economics professor at Somerset Community College; Tom Dupree, member of the board of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions; and Anna Baumann, research and policy associate with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

Viewers with questions and comments may send e-mail to kytonight@ket.org or use the message form at KET.org/kytonight.

Viewers may also submit questions on Twitter @ReneeKET or on KET’s Facebook page, facebook.com/KET. All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 1-800-494-7605.

“Kentucky Tonight ” programs are archived online, made available via podcast, and rebroadcast on KET and KET KY. Archived programs, information about podcasts, and broadcast schedules are available at KET.org/kytonight.

“Kentucky Tonight” is a weekly KET production, produced by Deidre Clark. Goodman is host and managing editor.

–Jack Brammer

Beshear makes appointments to state education board, women’s commission and arts center

HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU

FRANKFORT —Gov. Steve Beshear has made appointments to the Kentucky Board of Education, Kentucky Commission on Women and the Kentucky Center for the Arts Board.

To the state education board, Beshear has appointed Shelbyville attorney Samuel D. Hinkle IV and retired educator Debra L. Cook of Corbin.

Hinkle replaces Judith H. Gibbons, whose term has expired. His term will run through April 14, 2018. Cook replaces Brigitte B. Ramsey, who has resigned. She will serve for the remainder of Ramsey’s term, which ends April 14, 2016.

Andy Beshear reports $1.1M on hand for attorney general race, picks up endorsements

By Jack Brammer

jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — Andy Beshear, a Democratic candidate for attorney general in 2015 and the son of Gov. Steve Beshear, reported Thursday that his campaign has nearly $1.1 million cash on hand, after raising $160,000 in the last three months.

Beshear, a Louisville attorney with Stites and Harbison, has raised more than $1.26 million total for his campaign. He started it last November.

The candidate also announced the endorsements of five prominent Democrats for his campaign – former Attorney Generals David Armstrong and Chris Gorman, state Auditor Adam Edelen, former state Auditor Crit Luallen and state House Speaker and former Attorney General Greg Stumbo.

Beshear reappoints 6 members to state education board

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear reappointed six members of the 12-member Kentucky Board of Education Tuesday.

Two other appointments are up but he will announce them at a later date, said Beshear spokesman Terry Sebastian.

The reappointments will serve through April 14, 2018.

They are Jonathan V. Parrent of Princeton, William L. Twyman of Cave City, Roger Lee Marcum of Bardstown, Mary Gwen Wheeler of Louisville, Nawanna B. Privett of Lexington and Grayson R. Boyd of Williamsport.

–Jack Brammer

State expects $57 million net gain over three years from tobacco settlement



By Jack Brammer

jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — Kentucky will reap an extra $57.2 million over the next three years from settling litigation involving the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between states and tobacco companies, Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway announced Thursday.

In a joint news conference in the Capitol, Beshear said the end of the legal dispute between 23 states, including Kentucky, and tobacco manufacturers over 10 years of disputed claims and litigation is “a victory not only for Kentucky farmers, but also for critical health care and childhood services.”

Conway said the settlement his office worked on “restores certainty to Kentucky’s annual payments” from the 1998 agreement.

“Under the terms of the settlement, we avoid the possibility of costly litigation and the potential loss of the entire annual Master Settlement Agreement payment.”

Money from the settlement agreement already is designated for farm projects and health issues like lung cancer research.

Beshear acknowledged that the extra money for the state will not have an impact on a budget shortfall Kentucky expected at the end of this fiscal year on June 30.

Kentucky faces revenue shortfall in General and Road Funds

By Jack Brammer
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — State government is raking in less tax revenue than expected, making a budget shortfall for the fiscal year that ends June 30 “inevitable,” state budget director Jane Driskell warned Tuesday.

Driskell said the state’s General Fund which pays for most state programs, and the Road Fund, which pays for road work, would fall short of expectations. She said the magnitude of the shortfall will not be known until early July, but that it would be “significantly larger” than $28 million.

“We are preparing for the year-end close out, directing state agencies to closely monitor all activities and reviewing all potential options to address the shortfall;” she said.

Driskell reported Tuesday that May’s receipts for the General Fund fell 2.1 percent compared to May 2013. Total revenue for the month was $777.3 million, compared to $793.9 million during May 2013.

General Fund receipts grew 1.1 percent during the first eleven months of the fiscal year, but the enacted budget calls for 2.2 percent revenue growth for the entire fiscal year.

To meet the official revenue estimate, receipts must increase 11.7 percent over the final month of the fiscal year.

Beshear calls for more investments in education

By Jack Brammer

jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear told a group of educators and students Tuesday that this year’s legislative session made strides in education “but we have a long way to go.”

At a reception in the Capitol put on by several education organizations called Kentucky Education Action Team to thank Beshear and the 2014 General Assembly, Beshear said he is thankful that lawmakers “overcame a tough budget and made significant investments in our schools and children.”

Beshears report income of $337,276 in 2013

By Jack Brammer
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear and his wife, Jane, boosted their joint gross income by $85,111 last year, bringing it to $337,276, according to the 2013 state and federal income tax returns they released Thursday.

Their income for 2013 included $134,828 from Beshear’s salary as governor, $55,502 from dividends with Charles Schwab & Co. and Hilliard Lyons, $108,121 from capital gains, and $45,532 from Social Security.

The couple reported $53,389 in total itemized deductions. They gave $21,641 to charities.

The Beshears had a total federal tax liability of $53,904. After subtracting tax withholding of $31,832, the couple paid the federal government $22,072 with their tax return.

The Beshears have released their tax returns each year that he has been governor.

Beshear at first refused to disclose his income tax returns during his 2007 race for governor. He later released a list of his assets and liabilities. He then decided to make public his income tax returns.

State Public Protection Secretary Vance to retire May 31

Robert Vance
By Jack Brammer

jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT –Robert D. Vance, secretary of the state Public Protection Cabinet, will retire effective May 31, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Wednesday.

Beshear said his chief of staff, Larry Bond, will serve in a dual role as acting secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet until a permanent secretary is appointed.

The cabinet regulates and monitors several agencies, including those that oversee state chartered banks and investment companies, Thoroughbred and Standardbred horse racing, insurance companies, charitable gaming, the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages, the appeals of property tax assessments, building permits, fire safety inspections and crime victims compensation.

Beshear’s spokeswoman adds ‘Mom’ to her titles

FRANKFORT – Kerri Richardson, Gov. Steve Beshear’s communications director, delivered a baby girl Tuesday morning in Louisville and both are doing fine, the governor’s press office said Tuesday.

The child, named Mallory Evelyn Cheng, is the first for Richardson and her husband, Eric Cheng. She was born at 6:13 a.m. and tipped the scales at 6 pounds, 13 ounces.

–Jack Brammer