Governor Steve Beshear Exercises Line-Item Vetoes on State Budget.

Gov. Beshear used his line-item veto on the state budget passed by the General Assembly to alter two higher-education education items. They relate to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, and to the University of Louisville.

With regard to the former, the Governor altered language with the intent of giving more leeway to the governance of KCTC to use agency bonds and fees to fund capital projects on their campuses. With regard to the latter, the Governor reduced the University’s role in evaluating its own need for QCCT funding for indigent care or the effect of the reduction in the amounts appropriated.

“… the Governor excised language that would have limited the ability of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System to carry out long-overdue capital
projects authorized at each of its 16 regional campuses.  Specifically, the vetoed language would have prevented nine of the 16 projects from being built. 

Removing the limiting language will ensure that each campus will be able to take advantage of the $145.5 million in authorized agency bonds, available to KCTCS for the first time,” said Gov. Beshear. 

About 100,000 students access education through KCTCS and its 16 colleges and 73 campuses.  The General Fund can’t meet the system’s infrastructure needs, so KCTCS leadership recommended issuing agency bonds for up to 75 percent of project costs.  The remaining 25 percent will come from local communities and other public or private sources.  The bonds will support one project at each KCTCS college. “

University of Lousiville.
The University of Louisville is given a lesser role in evaluating the need for or the effects of a reduction in QCCT funding for indigent care at University Hospital. The Governor altered language that would have given UofL equal standing with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in evaluating its ongoing need for QCCT money or the results of its reduction. In the Governor’s words:

“I am vetoing these parts because they mandate that the University of Louisville conduct a study of its affiliate rather than ensuring that the study is conducted by an unrelated, objective, third-party entity. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services will conduct the study and will consider information and data supplied by the University of Louisville.”

This avoids the “fox-guarding-the-henhouse” conflict of interest of allowing the University to pass judgement on its own needs. We know how that would turn out. It will also require  University Hospital to open its books more than it might like. Recall though that all but a small part of University of Louisville Hospital is no longer run by UofL, but by an outside hospital corporation that is itself in financial straits. The Governor’s decision is a good result for the community and for the medically underserved.

Actual Text of the Vetoed Budget.
I would have liked to present our readers with the actual new amended language, but I could not find a copy of the budget with page numbers corresponding to those in the Governor’s Veto Message( which I do attach below.)

The House and Senate will have a change to try to overturn the veto when they meet on April 15. It is possible, if not likely, that additional legislation will be passed. We shall see what we shall see!

Peter Hasselbacher, MD
President, KHPI
Emeritus Professor of Medicine, UofL
April 11, 2014

Governor’s Veto Message for HB235.
Press Release explaining the individual item vetoes.