Kentucky teachers claim victory as budget vetoes rejected

Posted April 14, 2018

Also on Friday, the House and Senate vetoed a two-year state spending plan that increases education funding with the help of a $480 million tax increase. He said the only reason he did not call one a year ago was because Hoover was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a member of his staff, which kept the House tied up in a leadership dispute.

Republicans - with an eye toward the gallery filled with red-clad teachers - said Democrats were hypocritical because they champion education while voting against the revenue bill and budget which funds increases to education. But Gov. Matt Bevin vetoed the funding and sales debts, calling the latter "sloppy" and "non-transparent".

On Friday afternoon, the House voted 57-40 to override Bevin's veto of the tax bill.

The House also voted 94-2 and the Senate voted 34-4 to override a veto which will make it easier for agencies to leave the state retirement system. "What this tax bill really does, it raises 436 million dollars in taxes from the people who can least afford to pay for it", argued Jones.

The veto put Republican lawmakers in a tough position, asking them to vote a second time on a tax increase in an election year.

Here in the Tri-State, teachers in one western Kentucky county stayed in the classroom, but are making their stance known. They said that the tax growth disproportionately hurts the poor when. Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, railed against cuts to higher education. "This bill is not tax reform". He also said it would not raise enough cash to pay for the shelling out.

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Among the representatives who voted to override the veto of HB 366 was Jason Nemes, R-Louisville.

The budget bill vetoed by Bevin increased the SEEK formula, the main funding source for public education, but teaching advocates argue that the increase doesn't account for inflation. The teachers are urging lawmakers to override the governor's vetoes. "That's why our public employees demand an override", he said.

The override vote on the budget wasn't close.

The state's budget director says there could be an overestimation of more than $80 million in revenue.

The votes exposed again the rift between Bevin and former House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, and perhaps a growing rift with other Republican lawmakers.

This bill authorizes the state to spend $4,000 for every public school student, that is the highest level in state history.

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Kentucky's unrest comes as teachers in Oklahoma and Arizona have protested low funding and teacher pay. "I could go on and on, but we've all had almost two weeks to go through House Bill 200 to know what it is about". In all, 88 of the 90 Republicans in the General Assembly voted against the Republican governor on the budget.

"Do you know how many hundreds of thousands of children today were left home alone?"

The General Assembly also overrode a veto of House Bill 362, a measure created to give some county governments, municipalities and school districts relief from soaring pension costs this year. Senate President Robert Stivers is confident the tax bill will produce enough revenue to balance the budget.

Bevin said in his veto message that he objected only to the buy-out provisions and not the phase-in relief.

"The OEA doesn't get to decide when I'm finished", said middle school choir teacher Renee Jerden.

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