Friday, January 29, 2016

Dispatches From Bevinstan, Con't

Gov. Matt Bevin introduced his 2016-2017 budget plan this week in his first major speech since inauguration, and the word to describe it best is "carnage". He envisions nearly ten percent across-the-board cuts in Kentucky's government agencies, universities, services, and state employment. But it's what he didn't say that's getting attention.

Bevin outlined his proposed 2016-18 budget in an hourlong address to the General Assembly Tuesday night. The budget would add more than $1 billion to the pension programs, but it would come up with most of that money by cutting state funding to most agencies by 9 percent. 
The governor's actual budget bill - House Bill 303 - was not filed until late Wednesday. And it contains some things that Bevin did not mention in his speech, including the prevailing wage repeal and ban on abortion services funding
"Obviously, those are things that the governor has made very clear he would like to do. So they shouldn't surprise anyone." Jessica Ditto, communications director in the Governor's Office, said Thursday morning. 
A provision within the budget bill says in part, "no public authority shall make the prevailing wage...a part of the bidding specifications for any public works or a part of any contract for the construction of public works..." 
Another provision of the budget mandates that public funds, including moneys received from the federal government, shall not directly or indirectly be paid to any entity "that provides abortions or abortion services, or that is any affiliate of an entity that provides abortion services." 
Different Senate bills moving through the legislative process also would repeal prevailing wage and ban funding for abortions or abortion services. If those bills pass they would become permanent law. 
If those bills are blocked, and Bevin's budget bill passes, it would accomplish the same thing - but only for two years. Any provision in a budget bill expires at the end of the budget period, which in this case would be June 30, 2018. 
Rep. Rick Rand, the Bedford Democrat who chairs the House budget committee, said Thursday morning, "I like to reserve comment on a new budget until I've had time to go all the way through it with my staff. There are always some surprises in a budget bill, and we will certainly be taking a very close look at those provisions."

It should surprise no one that Bevin wants to defund Planned Parenthood state and federal money, but as Joe Sonka reminds us, PP's Louisville clinic that has recently started abortion services doesn't accept family planning funds anyway, and operates without it. But that means both Bevin and Kentucky lawmakers are trying to cut off funding for the clinics that don't perform those services in order to try to bully the organization.

Witness Bevin's reaction to the story:

Gov. Matt Bevin submitted a statement to IL claiming that this Planned Parenthood clinic is violating the law and pledging to use force to shut it down.

“They are openly and knowingly operating an unlicensed abortion facility in clear violation of the law,” said Bevin. “We will use the full force of the Commonwealth to put a stop to this. There is no room in Kentucky for this kind of blatant disregard for proper legal procedure.”

Open threats?  Matt, please.

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