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Officials agree on state budget

By RAE HODGE Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Kentucky lawmakers emerged from a closed-door budget committee meeting lasting nearly 14 hours in the state Capitol building to announce their agreement on the state's budget.

Senate and House leaders announced early Sunday morning that they have reached a compromise on a range of funding plans such as university project funding and Rupp Arena renovations.

Under the agreement, Lexington's Rupp Arena would not receive its requested $65 million bonded project, but the agreement would fund $56 million in bonds for renovation of the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville.

"I think what we have developed there is a pathway for the project to go forward," said Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester. "It's something that we're supportive of but we think there still needs to be a little bit better planning, a little more information, and we have provided for that pathway forward in the future."

University funding would receive a 1.5 percent cut with each university receiving funding for its top priority project, while the agreement would mandate raises for teachers.

"It's a blend," said House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. "It restores 1 percent of the (previous years') cuts and then allows them to move forward on what we understand to be their number one building requests."

The conferees said they did not decide yet whether to raise gas tax by 1.5 cents per gallon, but that the decision would be made later in the day.

House and Senate leadership have still not resolved the state transportation funding bill known as the Road Plan, but are expected to do so when they reconvene Monday.

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