Beshear says parts of Bevin's proposed budget cuts are unlawful
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Attorney General Andy Beshear sent a letter to Governor Matt Bevin addressing the governor's proposed budget reduction plan.
Last week, Governor Bevin announced he wanted to cut state spending by more than 17-percent to prevent a budget shortfall and protect the state's credit rating.
The plan is to eliminate the projected $200 million deficit and put $150 million in the state's savings account. During a news conference on Tuesday, Beshear says the proposal has "serious and significant" legal problems.
"Budget reductions for any $200 million shortfall are premature and unlawful if a consensus forecasting group hasn't finalized an official estimate," Beshear stated.
He went on to explain that an estimate can't be made official until the end of a fiscal year which would be December; that means any current estimates are merely projections and not official.
"The second and larger problem is that Kentucky law is very clear that the governor cannot use budget reductions to move money to the rainy day fund."
Amanda Stamper, the governor's communications director, released the following statement: "Kentucky families and businesses know they should not spend more than they make and having zero dollars in the bank to plan for emergencies is dangerous. Director Chilton's letter merely asked state agencies to draft a similar spending plan before any final decisions are made later in the year. Kentucky law clearly allows the Governor to ask any agency to reduce its spending, and the Kentucky Supreme Court said just last year that the Governor can direct spending reductions for agencies under his control. Thus, AG Beshear's grandstanding is not only fiscally irresponsible and nonsensical, but it is also contrary to the law. AG Beshear's latest threat to file yet another lawsuit against the Governor is premature and entirely political."
Beshear is requesting the governor's office send a follow-up letter to impacted agencies by September 15th.