by Tom Loftus, Louisville Courier Journal –
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Matt Bevin made clear in a statement Monday he does not like the tax reform and budget bills that the General Assembly flopped on his desk.
Bevin’s statement said he is “very concerned” that the budget and tax bills do not meet “basic standards of fiscal responsibility.”
He suggested the budget creates “unfunded mandates” that could cause “budget shortfalls in the future.” But the statement did not say whether or not he would veto them.
Instead, the governor ended his statement by saying there “is ample time left in this legislative session” to thoughtfully fix the tax and budget bills.
“I won’t place odds” on reopening the tax and budget bills before the final adjournment of the session, House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect said Tuesday.
“But we’re open to any suggestions the governor may have,” he said.
The Kentucky Constitution gives Bevin 10 days, not including Sundays, to veto a bill after he receives it. That means he could veto the tax and budget bills, or items within the budget bill, as late as midnight April 13.
It’s almost certain that Bevin will at least veto some items in the budget. Two years ago he vetoed dozens of items in the 2016-18 budget that lawmakers sent to him.
Lawmakers recessed Monday night and are scheduled to reconvene for the session’s final two days on April 13 and 14. They may act on a few remaining bills on April 13 and will consider any vetoes on the final day.
Osborne said he has to wait to see what any discussions with Bevin might produce and review any veto messages from Bevin before saying whether the House would override any vetoes.
“But certainly we’d be prepared to override anything,” Osborne said. “We’re not eager to create any animosity toward the governor, but the House has a strong commitment to legislative independence.”
Majority leaders of the House and Senate said in interviews on Tuesday they expect the General Assembly would override Bevin vetoes of the tax and budget bills.
House Majority Leader Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster, said he did not know what Bevin was talking about in his general criticism of the budget and tax bills.
“We see the budget and revenue bills as a big win for Kentuckians,” Shell said.
As for whether the House will override any Bevin vetoes of the bills, Shell said, “It will be our intention to do so.”
Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said lawmakers will carefully consider any Bevin veto messages before making a final decision.
“But I believe we will very strongly considering overrides,” he said. “… We feel very strongly about legislative independence.”
Tom Loftus: email@example.com; Twitter: @TomLoftus_CJ. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/toml.