Beshear vetoes portion of bill requiring Lexington to repay Rupp Arena loan next year

jbrammer@herald-leader.comApril 25, 2014 

Gov. Steve Beshear delivered his State of the Commonwealth Address on Jan. 7 at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort.

PHOTO BY MARK CORNELISON | STAFF — Herald-Leader Buy Photo

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear issued line-item vetoes Friday on two bills approved last week in the final two days of the 2014 General Assembly, including one dealing with the proposed renovation of Rupp Arena.

House Bill 301 would have required Lexington to repay by April 1, 2015, the $2.5 million the city received last year from coal severance tax proceeds for planning and design work on the Rupp Arena project.

Beshear vetoed that provision, saying it imposed "an unnecessary deadline on the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and could cause some of the future bonds sold by the commonwealth for the Rupp Arena renovation projects to be taxable instead of tax-exempt."

Beshear noted that Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has publicly committed to repaying the $2.5 million. "This acknowledgement is retained by my action," Beshear said.

He said setting a specific deadline for the repayment is premature because the timing of the payment is contingent on further actions that still need to take place to fund the project.

This year's legislature did not approve $80 million in state aid for the project, which includes an attached convention center.

Beshear also vetoed parts of the House Bill 236, the budget for the state Transportation Cabinet.

Beshear said he struck down "confusing and problematic language in the bill that diminished the administration's ability to successfully manage the transportation budget."

The language dealt with the Aviation Economic Development Fund, the Kentucky Pride Program and the Road Fund's cash management.

Because the legislative session ended April 15, lawmakers cannot override Beshear's latest vetoes.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, and Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, had no immediate comment.

On April 11, Beshear vetoed several parts of the state budget bill and a bill dealing with public-private partnerships that also prohibited the use of tolls to replace the Brent Spence Bridge between Covington and Cincinnati.

Lawmakers did not override those vetoes.

Beshear noted Friday in a news release that he fully signed into law 17 of the 19 bills passed in the last two days of the session, including the state's six-year road plan and an overhaul of the state's juvenile justice system.

"Despite another tight budget, I am pleased with the investments we made in this legislative session as well as new laws passed that will create more jobs, protect our most vulnerable citizens, and support businesses and families," Beshear said. "This is one of the more successful legislative sessions in recent memory."

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service