News and Music Discovery
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kentucky State Senate Sets Debt Ceiling for Future Years

Kittugwiki, Wikimedia Commons

A bill intended to reduce state debt over time is on its way to the Kentucky House. The Senate voted 28-8 Friday in favor of the measure, which limits general fund supported debt to six percent. 

Sponsor Joe Bowen says, taking into account courthouse construction borrowing, the Commonwealth's current debt ratio is eight percent. Somerset Senator Chris Girdler says attitudes about borrowing are troubling. 

"It reminds me of the T.V. show, 'Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?' It's a simple philosophy, debt is bad, saving is good,” Girdler said. “And I feel like Mr. President sometimes; we need to repeat that to ourselves. Debt is bad, saving is good." 

Senate Minority Floor Leader Ray Jones voted no, saying the measure could be considered unconstitutional. He says it would tie the hands of future general assemblies to address potential problems. Jessamine County Senator Tom Buford also cast a no vote.

"I think it would be very contradictive to vote for this, and then turn around next week and make another vote to expand our needs," Buford said. 

He added senators will be asked next week to approve borrowing to the tune of $130 million.

Senate President Robert Stivers defended his yes vote, saying there are still reasons to approve borrowing. He cited current legislation to support construction of a research facility at the University of Kentucky that would focus on cancer and other serious diseases.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
Related Content