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Sun March 30, 2014
Rupp Bond Issue Not Part Of Budget Compromise
Lawmakers reached a compromise early Sunday morning on a state budget but a bond issue for Rupp renovation is not part of the deal.
On Saturday Lexington Mayor Jim Gray addressed the committee and told members that not getting the $65 M in bonding, and absent approval to raise the city's hotel tax, would "drive a stake through the heart of the project."
Senate President Robert Stivers told the Lexington Herald Leader that the panel needed more concrete financial information surrounding the venture. Stivers said the panel agreed to set aside "a small amount" for planning and engineering that will be matched with local funds to move the project forward. With a deadline looming lawmakers felt more comfortable with the idea that city leaders could present a stronger, more compelling proposal in the future.
In addition to an overall reduction in bonding debt that Governor Beshear requested the $20.3B spending plan includes:
-A 1.5% cut to the operational budgets of the state's universities and community colleges.
-Gradual pay raises for teachers in 2015 and 2016.
-Fewer required visits for the state's coal mine inspectors from 6 per year to 4.
-Reduced spending for preschool expansion and social programs including foster care and guardianship.
-A plan to tax instant racing or electronic gambling proceeds at a flat rate 1.5% beginning April 1.
House and Senate lawmakers are expected to vote on the compromise on Monday before taking its two week formal break.