Kentucky lawmakers begin debate of tax veto

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Matt Bevin (R) suggested Friday that children were physically harmed because they were at home during the statewide teacher strikes, when teachers gathered at the capitol to protest school funding.

Teachers got the blame, as Bevin said some single parents can not afford childcare and can not afford to take time off work to watch their children.

The Kentucky Education Association, which organized Friday's rally, strongly opposes a bill to overhaul pensions that Gov. Bevin signed this week.

Bevin reportedly complained of the teachers sprawled across the capitol grounds, telling reporters he saw them smoking and "leaving trash around". "They think we are going to get exhausted and go home", she said. Crosby Stills, Nash and Young's hit "Teach Your Children" bellowed from the loud speakers.

"Finally after years of no new revenue coming to this state, they did generate some new revenue, said Kelley Ross, a teacher at Barren County High School".

Bevin told WDRB that he was "offended by the idea that people so cavalierly and so flippantly disregarded what's truly best for children".

"I want to be in my classroom instructing future citizens, but I'm afraid that spending at the state level is getting worse and worse, and we need those dollars for a 21st century education", she said.

The two-year operating budget includes record new spending for public education, fueled by a 50-cent increase in the cigarette tax and a 6 percent sales tax on some services including home and auto fix.

In rejecting the increase, Bevin said it would not generate enough money to cover new state spending. But Bevin vetoed both the budget and the money in it, calling the bills "sloppy" and "non-transparent".

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"My team and I have spent the past ten days with tax experts, as well as legislative leaders and staff, analyzing, scoring and attempting to correct House Bill 366, the revenue bill that Governor Bevin vetoed", State Budget Director John Chilton said in a statement released by Bevin on Twitter. The vote was closer in the Senate, which secured the minimum number necessary - overriding the tax and revenue bill veto 20-18.

"You can stand here all day and act like you are all for (education) until it comes time to pay for it".

They also said the budget continues to provide inadequate funding for education and vigorously criticized the way Republicans crafted it without Democratic involvement.

Sen. Morgan McGarvey, a Louisville Democrat, described the governor's remarks on Twitter as "an outrageous and unsubstantiated slander of a group of people who dedicate their lives to teaching and caring for our kids".

The increase is possible because of the $480 million tax increase.

The home voted 5-7 to 40 to override the veto of the tax growth and sixty six to 28 to override the budget veto. Teachers chanted "We are united, can't be divided" as lawmakers debated whether to override the veto.

Hoover said the override was necessary to fund the budget which restored cuts to public education and the override votes also demonstrate legislative independence.

Goodman says Kentucky teachers historically knew there was a financial trade off in lower salaries for doing a job that support a public good.

In Oklahoma, teachers ended two weeks of walkouts on Thursday, shifting their focus to electing proeducation candidates in November. But they also applauded Republicans who said they were voting to override the vetoes in order to fund education.