FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Kentucky senators are diving into a budget proposal passed by the House on Thursday. Some described it as drastically different than the proposal announced by Governor Matt Bevin that reduced budgets, across the board, by 6.25 percent and offered no funding for dozens of programs.
The House bill returns some funding to education, Veteran’s Affairs and the Kentucky State Police, but it also called for tax increases on cigarettes and prescription opioids.
Tax increases are not supported by Senate GOP leadership who today voiced a diplomatic optimism that they can reach an agreement with their Republican counterparts in the House.
But paying for changes to the governor’s plan will require added revenue that has been elusive to lawmakers in Frankfort.
Senate President Robert Stivers said comprehensive tax reform could be on the horizon and an effort could take place during the current General Assembly. While he doesn’t support tax increases, some of the issues raised by the House could be included in comprehensive reform.
Senator Christian McDaniel, the Republican State Senator from Kentucky’s 23rd District, heads the Senate leadership team working on the budget. When asked whether the House proposal would force the conversation about tax reform this session, he replied, “Not necessarily. I think the conversation could still happen but, certainly, I don't think that this forces it. I think that when we take a look at it it's going to be for 40 and 50 years and so I'm not going to allow what we need to do in the next three weeks to determine the outcome of the next five decades.”