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Senate Budget Chief "Cautiously Optimistic" About Surplus

The chairman of Kentucky's Senate Appropriations and Revenue committee is cautiously optimistic about news of a possible budget surplus.State Budget Director Mary Lassiter says if revenue growth continues on its current course, the state could end the fiscal year with a budget surplus of $58 million. But Senate budget chief Bob Leeper says Lassiter’s report is preliminary and contains many warnings.“Not all that money goes into the General Fund. Being coal severance money, some of that money goes back to the counties," he says. "So, it’s a figure that’s accurate, but it’s also something that you have to take a lot of factors in. It’s not $58 million to go out and spend."The state has seen two consecutive quarters of General Fund revenue growth, and three straight quarters of Road Fund growth. General Fund growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal year was 4.4 percent. The rate required to meet the budget is 4.2 percent.