BRADENTON, Fla. — The Kentucky General Assembly yesterday began what is expected to be a week-long special session attempting to break an impasse over the biennial budget and appropriate funds for upcoming debt-service payments.

The state’s debt financing plans came to a halt April 15 when lawmakers ended their regular session without approving a budget for the coming fiscal year.

Without a spending plan, finance officials said they delayed all new-money and refunding transactions on the advice of bond counsel.

The new budget also is necessary to appropriate debt service for the fiscal year that begins July 1 during which Kentucky is scheduled to pay $571.2 million in debt service for various state issuers, including a $14.6 million debt-service payment from the general fund due July 15.

Gov. Steve Beshear more than a week ago forwarded a compromise budget proposal that requires significant reductions due to an anticipated $1.5 billion revenue shortfall. It also contains many items sought by lawmakers, including $441 million of general fund-supported bonding, which would be the lowest amount of debt spending since 1996. Another $525 million of revenue bonds would be authorized for various state agency projects.

General Assembly leaders have expressed support for the governor’s budget plan.

“The compromise proposal I put forward offers a path forward to a budget agreement and an end to this dangerous stalemate,” Beshear said in a statement calling this week’s special session.  “I am pleased that there seems to be legislative support in both houses to enact a biennial budget next week.”

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