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Senate Changes to Budget Are Certain, Leeper Says

Kentucky state senators will get their first budgetary reports in committee this week, which starts the final step in the budget process.The Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee received a report today on the differences between the budget Governor Steve Beshear originally proposed and the changes the House made to that plan.Many senators didn’t raise questions about the changes in the meeting. But committee chairman Bob Leeper says that’s because the Senate is likely to include even more changes.“I think we’ll do things differently. Whether you refer to those as cuts or not, I’ll let people decide but I think we’ll do some things differently from what the House has done,” Leeper says.That means a conference committee to hammer out the final proposal is all but inevitable.“I just think if you look at some of the things they did in their budget, I believe they expected us to get to conference and I don’t know that we’re going to give them a reason not to get there,” Leeper says.Leeper says that he is encouraged by the House’s interest in reducing Kentucky’s debt, like reducing line items like agency bonds and debt restructuring. But he says that doesn’t mean that the House’s debt-limiting solutions will be the way the Senate tackles the problem.The Senate is expected to vote on the four budget bills by next week.