Kentucky's House overrides Governor Bevin's veto on budget

Credit Ryland Barton

Credit Ryland Barton

Teachers and administrators from Ashland, Boyd County, Fairview, Greenup County, Russell, Raceland-Worthington and Carter County districts said Thursday they would be traveling to Frankfort to lobby for more education funding.

The House voted 57-40 to override the veto of the tax increase and 66-28 to override the veto of the budget.

The two-year state operating budget includes record new spending for public education, fueled by a 50-cent increase in the cigarette tax and a 6 percent sales tax on some services including home and auto fix.

Unlike almost two other school districts across Kentucky planning to close Friday for an organized teacher protest in Frankfort, Anderson County schools will be open, according to information provided by Superintendent Sheila Mitchell.

On Thursday morning, Bevin went on WVLC Radio to criticize the teachers union for opposing his vetoes after teachers packed the Capitol to protest the initial passage of the budget and tax bills.

Calloway County elementary school teacher Gina Crider said the group is rallying with hopes that lawmakers will override Governor Matt Bevin's veto of the two-year state budget and revenue bills.

The Kentucky House and Senate both voted to override Gov. Bevin's veto of the tax bill (HB 366) on Friday. In a dramatic moment, Senate President Robert Stivers cast the decisive vote for the override. But not rejecting the vetoes means the state government won't have money to operate for the next two years.

John Chilton, Bevin's budget director, said he understands lawmakers have new bills to raise revenue and govern spending and could introduce them Friday or Saturday.

If lawmakers let the vetoes stand, Bevin could call them back into special session to pass a budget.

The unrest comes amid teacher protests in Oklahoma and Arizona over low funding and teacher pay. They are instead focused on a battle over their pensions.

Chanting "remember in November", thousands filled the Capitol earlier this month to demand generous school funding and oppose pension changes. The tax bill also proposes a 6% sales tax on a variety of services, including auto and home repairs and funding for education.

The pension bill would place all new teachers into hybrid cash-balance plans rather than the traditional defined benefit plans and also caps the number of sick days teachers can use to determine retirement eligibility.

Changes already were made to the teacher pension system. They claim the diminished benefits for future teachers will discourage others from choosing teaching as a career.

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