Frankfort, KY – Entering the session, Governor Beshear predicted the state would be unable to dig itself out of an almost half-billion dollar budget hole without a tax increase. After convincing legislative leaders of that, the General Assembly last week agreed to hike taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. Beshear said it wouldn't have been possible without bipartisanship, and he's now ready to tackle other difficult topics like reform of the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990. "That will not be an effort to destroy KERA. That will be an effort to strengthen KERA."
Beshear and legislative leaders also want to look at transportation needs and prison costs before the session ends in late March. There will be some legislative committee meetings this week, but the session doesn't officially resume until next Monday. At that point there will be 16 days before adjournment.