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A tale of two budgets - Legislature has two versions

The Kentucky Senate passed their version of the budget yesterday. Unsurprisingly, it does not match the House version.

In a very small nutshell - some differences:

The House plan:

*Created a WorkReady scholarship fund for first two years of community college for students making a 2.0.

*Restores higher education funding

*Restores funding for afterschool and gifted programs

* Fully funds the state's actuarial required contributions (ARC) for the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System and the Kentucky Employees Retirement System.

The Senate plan:

*No scholarship fund

*Restores 9% cuts to higher education

*Higher ed funding to a performance-based model, with a quarter of the state funding to be based on student retention, graduation rates and other metrics.

*Increased heroin treatment funding

*Creates a permanent fund for future pension spending

House and Senate leadership will meet and try to iron out differences to have a bill to send to the Governor for his signature.

Governor Bevin commented in a press release: "We have an opportunity to truly change the course of the Commonwealth thanks to both the House and Senate finding ways to dedicate more money to our pension system than any previous budget.

As the House and Senate negotiate the final budget bill, I encourage them to come to the table with open minds and focus on Kentucky's future. I will support the efforts to find common ground so that we can address our pension liabilities and invest in the areas that will create economic opportunity both now and for years to come."

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