ATLANTA -- Just nine days before the start of Kentucky's new fiscal year, Gov. Brereton Jones approved a $10.2 billion budget for the 1994-96 biennium that included $288.5 million of new state debt.
The budget became law last Wednesday after Jones vetoed three small sections of the spending package, none of which involved bonds. Jones had threatened to reject the entire appropriations bill because lawmakers meeting in a special legislative session that ended June 17 failed to support him in his bid to win approval of a number of bond-funded projects.
On April 12, at the end of the state's regular legislative session, Jones vetoed the whole budget because it authorized even fewer bonds, forcing lawmakers to meet in the special session.
"If I had done what virtually every governor in the history of Kentucky has done -- signed the first budget bill presented by the legislature -- we would not be able today to celebrate the rebirth of our state parks system," Jones said last Wednesday.
The compromise bond package agreed to by lawmakers during the special session comprised $138.5 million of debt financing for general infrastructure and economic development projects and $150 million for state highways. The infrastructure improvement debt included $63.2 million for state parks.
One of Jones' vetoes last week, targeted at $4 million of spending for student transportation costs at private schools, was overridden. Lawmakers were not able to override the other two vetoes.
The first of the sustained vetoes eliminated a bill requiring that the governor call a special session of the legislature in order to use the state's budget reserve fund to deal with a revenue shortfall. The budget reserve for the biennium was set at $100 million.
The other veto that was sustained rejected legislation that would have prohibited transfer of a job training program from one part of state government to another.