Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Opinion

April 8, 2006

State needs fair budget

Tomorrow, the full House and Senate will convene in hopes of giving Kentuckians their first budget in the last two regular sessions of the General Assembly.

A proposal pieced together by a free conference committee of 21 lawmakers carries the hopes of an entire state.

The remaining 117 lawmakers will finally have their say tomorrow ... after getting their first look at the budget.

Yes, in what can only be described as totally reprehensible, the majority of the state’s elected officials will have only a few hours after their first peek at the proposed spending plan before being forced to cast their vote on its merits.

Rep. Steve Nunn, R-Glasgow, is one of what surely is many wondering if coveted projects benefiting his district are still included in the spending plan.

Now, Nunn will have precious few hours to review the plan and make arguments or deals if his projects aren’t included.

Legislators’ work could still be in vain, however, as Gov. Ernie Fletcher can use his veto powers with no fear of having them reversed since the General Assembly must complete its work by April 15 and the governor has 10 days to consider all legislation.

That’s why we hope politics can be set aside and parties and the governor cooperate in the coming days to ensure that all regions of Kentucky equally benefit from budget dollars.

Only with a bipartisan atmosphere will lawmakers be able to guarantee that the taxpayers’ $18 billion is best being utilized to improve the quality of life in the state.

This is a time lawmakers need to get serious about what is vital now and what could be forfeited this year.

We also urge Gov. Fletcher to seriously consider — if both House and Senate overwhelmingly approve the budget — to keep the veto pen in his pocket. Cutting money earmarked for agreed upon expenditures to bump the bottom line of the “rainy day” fund doesn’t seem like sound management.

After all, the bottom line should be about the state’s tax dollars being spent in a way that benefits all Kentuckians.

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