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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In Kentucky, Steve Beshear STABS David Williams In The Eye With His Veto Pen.

Beshear nixes $50 million in funding for roads in Williams' district
By Beth Musgrave

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear late Wednesday nixed nearly $50 million in funding for road projects in Senate President David Williams' south central Kentucky Senate district.

Beshear said Williams had added $152 million for road projects in his district when the Senate passed the two-year and four-year road plans during the regular session, which concluded Thursday. Williams' district includes Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne and Whitley counties.

By doing so, Williams shifted money away from worthy road projects in other areas of the state, Beshear said Wednesday.

"Sen. Williams has essentially moved all his district's road projects to the front of the line, forcing other projects that the Transportation Cabinet and other legislators considered high-priority to wait until additional funding becomes available," Beshear said in a written statement. "It's unfair to the citizens and it's unfair to the rest of the lawmakers whose districts will suffer."

The state's roads are built using a variety of funding sources. Beshear's original two-year road plan contained $99 million for road projects in Williams' district that had reliable funding sources. Beshear essentially removed the stable funding sources for the remaining $49.7 million for the other projects.

Beshear called on the Senate on Wednesday to pass the two-year Transportation Cabinet operating budget, the reason why Beshear had to call legislators back to Frankfort on Monday for a special legislative session.

Senate Republicans failed to pass the Transportation Cabinet operating budget last Thursday, the 60th and final day of the regular legislative session. Williams said he wanted Beshear to sign the road plan before providing the funding for it.

Beshear said he needed more time to review the 400-page document. He has 10 days to issue a veto.

Williams has said that he doesn't believe that Beshear had the authority to line-item veto the road plan since it is not an appropriations bill. But House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said Wednesday that he believes that Beshear does have that authority.

The issue might ultimately be decided by the courts.

Beshear said the Senate can pass the transportation operating budget and a bill aimed at curbing "pill mills" in Kentucky by Friday.

"The House has again met their obligations by passing the transportation budget this morning, there is no reason for the Senate to delay passing that budget and the prescription drug bill right away and end this costly special session on Friday," Beshear said.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/04/18/2155737/kentucky-house-approves-road-budget.html#storylink=cpy

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