With the last of six furlough days of fiscal 2011 set for Friday, House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) is reiterating the General Assembly's opposition to Governor Steve Beshear's pay cut plan.
In a statement e-mailed to reporters, Stumbo noted that the General Assembly met its budget goal by reducing staff by at least five percent.
"... a move that was done as painlessly as possible by such things as not filling open positions," Stumbo said, "This approach is resulting in permanent reductions that will lead to recurring savings."
“I want to point out that the Executive Branch wanted the authority to have furloughs," Stumbo continued, "and that given the projected budget surplus, the House and Senate both voted overwhelmingly this year to end that practice. Unfortunately, that goal was reversed by the governor’s veto pen.”
Despite his line item veto, Beshear's news release shared the decision with lawmakers, saying the budget balancing plan was "authorized by the 2010-12 biennial budget passed by the General Assembly."
“While revenue receipts are up slightly, we cannot guarantee that those receipts will keep rising through the end of the fiscal year,” Beshear said in a statement. “If over the next year our receipts grow enough that we can be sure that our budget will remain balanced, reducing the number of furlough days will be among the first things we look at.”
Beshear estimates the furloughs will save approximately $24 million, as well as prevent laying off more than 400 state employees.