Budget negotiations stalled Wednesday as talks became testy at times. The inability of lawmakers to reach a deal on a new two year, $19 billion spending plan comes as their self imposed deadline closes in.
“The car has, has stalled a little bit,” said Rep. Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, the House Speaker said when asked to write the headline.
Wednesday marked the third day of negotiations by leading lawmakers, who have set a self imposed three am Thursday deadline for reaching a deal. That timeline is required to allow votes on a budget in the House and Senate by Friday, the last scheduled non veto day of the 2012 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
The size of the state’s debt remains the key wedge issue. "This is a deep philosophical difference that we have and we've made significant progress in reducing the structural deficit, but we're not satisfied with that,” said Senator David Williams, R-Burkesville, the Senate President.
“The bond markets are at the all time low,” Stumbo countered “I mean, now is when we should be investing our infrastructure and creating jobs again."
House Democrats claim Senate Republicans are going too far, even abandoning future school construction needs.
“Obviously there is a strategy on the House's part to paint us against economic development and job creation, to paint us against schools,” said Williams. “It's the same old thing."
"If they continue to hold true to their position that it's my way or the highway, then here we go down that highway again,” Stumbo said.
The General Assembly failed to agree on spending plans during the 2000, 2002 and 2010 regular sessions. Lawmakers deal with budgets in even numbered years. Under state law the legislature is supposed to pass a budget by April 15 of even years.