2017-09-13 / News

Beshear: cuts care illegal

By ADAM BEAM
The Associated Press

FRANKFORT

Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general says the Republican governor’s plan to cut state spending by more than 17 percent would be illegal, prompting a rebuke from Gov. Matt Bevin in the latest chapter of the long-running feud between the two politicians.

Andy Beshear told reporters Tuesday that Bevin’s plan would break the law because it would use budget cuts to replenish the state’s savings account.

State economists have estimated Kentucky will have a $200 million shortfall when the fiscal year ends on June 30, 2018. But Bevin’s plan, announced Friday , would cut spending by $350 million to cover the estimated shortfall and put $150 million into the state’s savings account.

Beshear cited state law that says spending cuts cannot be more than a projected shortfall.

“I’m not questioning his intentions. I don’t disagree it’s nice to have money sitting in an account to help the bond rating,” Beshear said in a news conference at the state Capitol. “I’m just applying the law as it was passed by the General Assembly. In the end the law is the law and it is my job to enforce it.”

Beshear’s comments prompted a spirited response from Bevin, who told WHAS radio that Beshear was “never a good attorney” and said he “would defy anybody to show me he had the true qualifications to do this job.”

“He’s just literally in over his head. He doesn’t understand what running state government looks like,” Bevin said. “It would be ridiculously inappropriate of us as a state to have not one cent in reserve.”

Beshear has challenged Bevin’s spending decisions in the past.

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