Gov. Steve Beshear doesn't want anything to interfere with getting a budget enacted when lawmakers return to Frankfort next week for a special session.
He's right, of course. No budget means a multitude of state agencies and services shut down July 1. No budget by June 1 puts $113 million in savings from refinancing debt at risk.
Nothing should stand in the way of getting this job done — and getting it done in the minimum five days.
So, the special session call Beshear issues sometime this week should be clear of any topics that could throw a wrench into the budget process.
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But one topic needing attention shouldn't be controversial at all. Kentucky's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund has a deficit of more than $700 million.
The state has borrowed hundreds of millions from the federal government and must repay it eventually, plus 4.6 percent interest.
To fix the problem, business and labor came to an agreement that involves higher taxes on employers and lower unemployment benefits for workers who have lost their jobs. Despite those higher taxes, the provisions of the agreement were expected to save the business community $700 million over the next 10 years.
This agreement was contained in House Bill 349, which passed the House during regular session but failed to get out of the Senate.
It still needs doing, and it needs doing now because there is no guarantee this deal will still be on the table when the 2011 General Assembly session arrives.
Thus, if Beshear does expand the call for the upcoming special session to include items other than the budget, the fix for the state's unemployment insurance problems needs to be first in line.