Partisan battle needs to end to pass state budget

Kentucky legislators in this General Assembly session only passed 148 bills. That is half of what they passed in 2002 and almost one-fifth of what they passed in 2000.

This wouldn’t be a big deal if they’d passed a budget. But unfortunately, they didn’t do that either.

For the second time in a row, legislators have failed to pass a state budget. The legislators could not agree whether they should pass a tax modernization plan at the same time. The Senate wanted to pass the plan with the budget, and the House didn’t.

Tax modernization will not affect the budget negatively or positively at this point. It was ridiculous that the Senate and the House spent so much time fighting over it. It does not take a political expert to see that it was a partisan battle that has delayed the passing of the state budget.

The legislators have failed at fulfilling their biggest responsibility. This budget determines how much every state entity will receive and how much money it has to spend. This doesn’t only affect Western, which could possibly lose money, but everyone from the youngest to the oldest of Kentuckians.

Legislators need to break down their pride and pass a budget as soon as possible. It’s unfair to expect the whole state to wait for a proper budget because of a squabble over taxes that has nothing to do with the budget.

There is still time. The fiscal year does not start until July 1. That gives everybody a little over two months to make a decision.

If House and Senate officials would meet outside the session and agree to a budget that will work for all parties, then Fletcher will likely call a special section. Once the two parties agree on a budget beforehand, it won’t be necessary to spend more than one or two days in a special session to pass the budget.

Let’s not put the whole state in limbo on what they can or cannot spend in the next two years. The sooner a budget can be passed, the sooner legislators can focus on other priorities for the next legislative session in 2005.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 9-member board of student editors.