The bad news: Kentucky lawmakers ended a five day special session Friday by agreeing on a $4.5 billion transportation budget.
It’s great that the state is fond of road projects. Aside from the party-line tiff between Senate Pres. David Williams and Gov. Steve Beshear, Kentucky lawmakers are pretty well in agreement that driving on well paved roads is a good thing.
Last year, lawmakers couldn’t agree on funding Medicaid. This year, roads.
In all, they’ve gone into special session 10 times since 2000 and are an even seven-for-seven going back over the last run. Currently, that’s a cost of around $60,000 per day to squabble along party lines.
And the bad part is, all of it is avoidable.
Lawmakers go to the Capitol every year with a calendar in place. Most of the issues they disagree over are the same mundane ones year in and year out. In this instance, Beshear presented his budget in January.
Sure, there’s a certain amount of politicking. In the most recent case, Williams shifted around $152 million in unfunded road projects for his district to the funded side, which led to Beshear refusing to sign the budget.
But mostly it’s campaign fodder. They wait until the 60th day of the session and, suddenly, address some grievance that didn’t seem nearly as important months ago when no one was paying attention.