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Does Budget Bake Sale Mean KY is Cooked?

January 21, 2010

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Gov. Beshear's new two-year spending proposal relies heavily on money from expanded gambling at racetracks. That's drawing criticism from the group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC), which took to the halls of the Capitol annex to sell baked goods to help lighten the deficit, and to offer other ideas about ways to raise money.

Dana Beasley Brown, KFTC Bowling Green chapter representative, thinks a plan based on gaming that doesn't currently exist isn't likely to pass.

"If it doesn't, across-the-board, it means 10 percent cuts, more or less, over the next two years, on top of the 20 percent to 25 percent cuts many agencies have sustained over the past two years."

Money raised from the bake sale was delivered to the governor's office, Beasley Brown says.

KFTC backs another plan, House Bill 13, which would boost the income tax by one percent for those making between $75,000 and $90,000. It also would impose a 2 percent hike on people earning more than $90,000.

It has been estimated that the bill would provide about $300 million a year for education and include about a $100 million tax cut for working-class families, Beasley Brown explains. Gov. Beshear contends that without the additional gambling revenues - estimated to be $780 million - his budget likely would result in massive layoffs.

KFTC is worried about the effect budget cuts will have on Kentuckians already hard hit by the recession, Beasley Brown says. Just recently, she adds, a man facing eviction watched his cell phone run out of minutes while he was waiting on hold for legal aid, because the lines were jammed.

"He was unable to ever talk to anyone or to get through their waiting system to be able to get representation and help for that situation, so he became homeless."

Beasley Brown stresses that education needs to be a priority in whatever spending plan is considered.

"The teacher-student ratios are getting bigger. There's just less money for after-school programs. It's absolutely unacceptable."

More information is available by contacting Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, 606-878-2161.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY