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Budget Bills Easily Pass Committee, Expected to Get Full House Vote Soon

Budget plans for all three branches of Kentucky’s government are on their way to the House floor after easily passing out of the House budget committee today.The committee passed bills that would cut the judicial and legislative budgets by eight point four percent, to match the cuts already made to the executive budget.  It also adopted thechanges to Governor Steve Beshear’s budget proposed yesterday.The panel also approved a plan by Beshear to restart a new tax amnesty program. Late filers from December 2001 to October 2011 will be able to take part in the program.Finance Secretary Lori Flannery says based on two previous amnesty programs, she expects this third time to be successful.“So we feel like, that the plan we used last time and that we are planning to use again during this campaign is one that has worked in the past,” she says.Flannery says more than one billion dollars in late taxes are owed to the state. And while she doesn’t believe all of that money can be recouped through the program, she’s hopeful that much of it will be.Legislative Budget Director Greg Rush says the House’s budget changes will actually leave more money in the state’s rainy day fund.“We started the biennium with 121 million and the governor’s budget has envisioned the use of 50 million in the first year and 51 point seven million in the second year. The House budget assumes the use of 50 million in the first year and about 48 million in the second year. So the balance in the budget reserve trust fund would be just under 24 million," Greg Rush, the budget director for the legislature, says.The budget bills now move to the House floor, where they are expected to be voted on as early as tomorrow.

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