Kentucky's GOP governor dares teachers to walk out after vetoing budget deal

Credit Ryland Barton

Republican leaders of the House and Senate issued a statement against the governor's announcement.

House Bill 366 has come under criticism from Democrats and analysts who say that it favors the wealthy and corporations, reported CNN affiliate WKYT.

"We need this budget", Gooch said, calling it "the best education budget we've had for a long time". "But the reality is the money is not there and we're kicking the can down the road and that is not responsible".

"If we need to do tax reform, it needs to be more comprehensive", Bevin said.

Nonpartisan staff in Kentucky's House of Representatives had said the tax package would generate an additional $239 million in state revenue in 2019 and an extra $248 million in 2020.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and acting House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, responded to Bevin's vetoes saying they were comfortable with the legislation they had passed and sent to the Republican governor.

"To our knowledge, the governor has had no discussions with any legislator on the details of this budget and what he might consider to be a shortfall", they continued.

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Gov. Matt Bevin announces Monday that he will veto a tax increase and two-year operating budget during a press conference.

Kentucky's Republican governor says he will veto a $480 million tax increase and a two-year operating budget the GOP-controlled legislature approved to pay for public education at a time of teacher protests across the country. Organized by the Coalition of Senate and Faculty Leadership, the events were created to be similar to teachers' rallies in Frankfort, but without disrupting classes. Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, and Sen.

The veto plan drew varied reactions.

Kentucky's top law enforcement official is taking aim at the state's freshly-signed pension reform bill.

Republicans, however, are in the toughest spot politically.

"Neither bill is flawless, but together they add hundreds of millions of dollars to public education, allowing pensions to be fully funded, education cuts to be restored, and health insurance to be funded".

Add to that the possibility of a special session to pass a new budget - something the public nearly universally finds wasteful - and it's easy to understand Republican discomfort.

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Bevin called teacher walkouts "irresponsible" Monday, adding that teachers haven't been the problem - the KEA has been the problem.

Bevin's budget "was draconian.to the point of causing numerous districts to go bankrupt" over the two years of the budget, Robbins said. "These two priorities are not mutually exclusive and can be done as we have proven".

The tax plan includes taxing various services, such as vehicle repairs, dry cleaning and pet care, and would also set the tax rates for individuals and corporations at 5 percent.

On April 2, every school district in the state was closed, either because of spring break or so that educators could attend a massive rally in Frankfort in protest of a bill that made changes to the state's cash-strapped public pension systems.

Bevin is also advising teachers against following the lead of educators in Oklahoma and West Virginia who have mobilized walkouts in recent weeks.

But Bevin's Budget Director, John Chilton, said last week the estimates are inaccurate and revenues are likely to fall at least $50 million short of spending. It would take 51 votes in the House and 20 in the Senate. But those are the total votes cast on the revenue measure in each chamber meaning leadership can't lose any votes in an effort to override.

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