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Senate passes two-year budget plan



FRANKFORT

The Kentucky Senate passed a $17.3 billion, twoyear state budget plan Monday night that proposes deeper spending cuts than the House to overcome a looming shortfall and erases a slew of construction projects backed by House Democratic leaders.

The spending blueprint backed by the Republicanled Senate includes cuts in the first year that are generally 1¬Ù percent deeper than reductions made in the House plan. It would be followed by a 1 percent reduction in the second year of the budget cycle. The state’s main funding formula for elementary and secondary education was included in the cutbacks.

“We wanted to share the sacrifice to minimize the discomfort,” Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chairman Bob Leeper said.

The Senate plan would preserve two instructional days for kindergarten through high school that the House proposed eliminating to save $72 million in the biennium.

The Senate also dropped two tax-code changes proposed by the House that would raise about $270 million in extra revenue over two years by temporarily suspending a tax write-off and accelerating collection of sales taxes. Businesses oppose both.

The Senate spending plan passed 35-2, setting up potentially arduous House- Senate negotiations to try to reach accord on a spending plan for two years beginning July 1.



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