Saturday, October 11, 2003

Ky. budget outlook brightens

By Charles Wolfe
The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Economists who issue the state's official revenue projections reduced their estimate Friday of a budget shortage in the current fiscal year.

As a result, and barring a change beforehand, Gov. Paul Patton would not be legally required to order a fresh round of spending cuts prior to leaving office Dec. 8.

The panel of economists - officially the Consensus Forecasting Group - calculated that the state's General Fund will take in about $262 million less than what is called for in the budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

In August, the forecasting group thought the shortfall would be about $274 million. On Friday, the group made slightly modestly higher estimates of what the state is likely to take in from the sales tax and income taxes, both individual and corporate.

The new forecast is to be used for planning the budget for the next biennium - July 1, 2004, through June 30, 2006.

A follow-up forecast is to be issued in December or January. The General Assembly is required to use it in making the final, enacted budget. However, the governor or the legislature's leadership could call the forecasting group back into session for a new set of projections.

Under Kentucky law, forecasted shortfalls of a specified magnitude trigger a requirement for the governor to order spending cuts, which Patton has previously done.

Cuts first were made in administrative areas, acting state Budget Director Mary Lassiter said. Only later did Patton make programmatic cuts.

"This administration has gone to every effort possible to minimize service impacts," she said.

We're No. 1 - in airfare costs
How fares compare from CVG, other cities
Kids rewarded for showing up
Cardinal: Change will restore church
Writing on the wall for sculpture
'It's a sad end to a sad story'

County workers threaten strike
Some in Norwood fight to sell homes
Spring Grove invites guests
Boy's suicide intensifies father's crusade
Marching band refuses to yield
Regional Report

Bronson: 'Married ... With Children' - not as seen on TV
Faith Matters: Educate yourself in Islam
Howard: Good Things Happening

Man gets death sentence in murder of wife
Man guilty in kidnap, assault attempt
County signs off on soldiers
Historical society runs contest
Corwin Nixon in poor health
Computer viruses bedevil Miami University systems

John Watson, Clermont judge, county organizer
Geneva L. Frederick, 80, was homemaker, ex-Marine
'Captain' Morton Chapman, 91, owned the Anchor Grill
Kentucky obituaries

Publishers dusting off vintage comic characters
Radioactive reactor might be coming through Cincinnati
Soft mattress, dumplings greet soldier on vacation
Pension files get scrutiny
Man gets life term in pizza driver's murder
Safety becoming top priority for car buyers, experts report
Ohio Moments

Day-care owners quit amid inquiry into death
Lawyer caught in con's web
Gubernatorial hopefuls tangle in Bowling Green
Former Ky. Gov. Breathitt collapses
State Rep. Kerr switches to GOP
Appellate court favors liquor option
Ky. budget outlook brightens
Troopers to man checkpoints
Boone County zoning decision overturned
Kentucky News Briefs