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Budget woes

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By The Staff

During the first 10 days in office, I have discovered that Kentucky's financial house is in serious disarray. In fact, we have inherited a budget situation easily described as beyond serious.

As reported this week, the Consensus Forecasting Group issued what I interpret as dire warnings about the state's grim revenue estimates.

For example, their numbers indicate a $120 million shortage in collections during the remainder of this fiscal year. I'm speaking of money already obligated. Other formerly made commitments will add to the size of the current fiscal year shortfall.

Furthermore, several state agencies earlier had requested more than $166 million of additional spending just to maintain existing services.

The immediate problem isn't the only negative or challenging dynamic facing the commonwealth. As a result, I am planning a media briefing late next week, which will outline more specifically the scope of what is without question a grave circumstance. Then in very early January I will announce my decision on how such a dilemma must be managed.

Merely saying that information still coming to us is alarming would be an understatement. The commonwealth's financial condition is of paramount concern. It has consumed us during the first days of this administration.

Although I was not present at the creation or construction of such untenable budgetary circumstances, as your new Governor it becomes my duty to reverse the situation and place Kentucky on a solid financial foundation. And I intend to do just that.

Gov. Steven L. Beshear

Frankfort