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Lawmakers Pass Budget with No Time to Spare

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After a night of discussions, Kentucky lawmakers have finally reached a budget agreement.

Negotiations on a budget compromise began Monday. By Tuesday, talks had stalled. Lawmakers were unable to work out differences over funding school construction, paying for indigent care at University Hospital in Louisville and reducing bonded debt. House and Senate leaders resolved their differences shortly before 3 am Eastern today. The compromise includes the House?'s planned funding for school construction and U of L Hospital. It also cuts the state'?s bonded debt, which was a Senate priority.

And at the last minute, lawmakers decided to put $2.5 million toward renovations to Rupp Arena in Lexington.

"?We would make an offering to Lexington on a 50-50 match, we would make $1.25 million available each year to be matched for Rupp Arena,"? says House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

Also at the last minute, funding was restored for the Kentucky Horse Park.

?"To give the governor authorization for $3.5 million out of restricted funds he has in the governor?'s office for the horse park,?" says Senate President David Williams.

The revised budget must now be formally rewritten and printed for lawmakers to view. It will be done in time for both chambers to pass the budget early Friday morning and then adjourn. By passing a budget this week, lawmakers will save time to override gubernatorial vetoes next month.

Kenny Colston is the Frankfort Bureau Chief for Kentucky Public Radio (a collaborative effort of public radio stations in Kentucky). Colston has covered Kentucky's Capitol and state government since 2010. He is a Louisville native, and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. When he's not tracking down stories about Kentucky politics, you can often find him watching college sports, particularly football.
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