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Monday, April 9, 2018

Gov. Bevin Just Vetoed The Budget and Tax Reform Bills, Here's What's Next

Gov. Matt Bevin made his intentions known today on the recently passed budget bill (HB 200) and tax reform bill (HB 366), when he addressed the Commonwealth in a nearly forty-minute address on his Facebook page.

He plans to veto both bills.


Legislators estimated the tax bill they approved a week ago would raise $487 million in additional revenue during the 2018-20 budget period. That revenue was critical in providing the money needed for lawmakers to pass a budget bill that avoided deep cuts to public schools and other parts of state government — cuts proposed by Bevin last January.

"Kentucky is in a financial crisis and I’m grateful for our House and Senate about wanting to take on our pension crisis. Go back to when I ran for Governor three years ago. I ran on the issue that we were going to do difficult, hard things, not the least of which was to address our pension crisis and antiquated tax structure," said Bevin.

But Bevin said the legislature's efforts did not go far enough.

"We have not fixed the pension problem," he said. "The pension problem still looms large at $13,500 for every man, woman and child in Kentucky and there is still no proposal as to how that’s going to be paid. More work is going to have to be done."

Joining Bevin in his opposition to the bills as proposed were Kentucky Democrats, albeit for different philosophical reasons.

"The Republican-proposed tax bill increased taxes on the working class of Kentucky and the budget bill continues the war on public education," said Ben Self, chairman of the state Democratic Party, in a statement.

"Instead of passing a bad bill behind closed doors at the last minute with no public input, we need to focus on bills that help the working class not the 1 percent."

Following Bevin's press conference, Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) and House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne (R-Prospect) released a joint statement reacting to the governor's announcement to veto House Bill 200 and House Bill 366:

“We believe Governor Bevin is misguided in his interpretation of the budget and the revenue bills, as we are comfortable with LRC staff revenue projections. To our knowledge, the Governor has had no discussions with any legislators on the details of this budget and what he might consider to be a shortfall. We believe Governor Bevin would be best served to meet with legislators to understand their thoughts and rationale before making a final decision on vetoing the revenue and/or budget bills.”

In Kentucky, a gubernatorial veto can be overridden by a constitutional majority - half of those elected, not a two-thirds majority in both chambers like in many states and in the United States Congress.

But unlike a presidential veto where Congress needs a two-thirds majority in both chambers to override a president's veto, only a constitutional majority — or half of those elected — is needed in the House and Senate to rebuke a governor who blocks all or parts of certain legislation.

House Bill 366 (tax reform) passed in the House by a 51-44 margin and 20-18 in the Senate. House Bill 200 (budget) passed by a 59-36 vote in the House and by a 25-13 margin in the Senate. 

Both bills were passed by only Republican votes. 

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