The House Democrat Caucus convened its members to present two budget plans and to gauge support from House members. Plan "A" and plan "B" call for generating new revenue by means of that ugly word taxes. While neither plan seems real appealing to most legislators the choice has now come down to the better of two evils.
The big news during this caucus meeting was the apparent confrontation between House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo. It seems that Mongiardo stood to lecture and scold House Members for what he believed as their lack of effort to push the Governor's agenda, when Majority Leader Adkins, who had heard about enough of the tongue lashing, confronted Mongiardo in a nose to nose fashion and began to eat Mongiardo alive.
A number of legislators have commented that they thought Mongiardo was out of line and stuck his nose where it did not belong. Legislators commented that Mongiardo's actions have severely hurt the Governor's relationship with the House. Adkins apparently in an ugly exchange, dressed the Lt. Governor down for his lack knowledge as to process and the ongoing efforts regarding House Leadership's attempt to deliver a budget and a Constitutional Gaming Amendment that can pass the House.
The House was already divided over the gaming amendment which also led to another ugly confrontation between House Speaker Jody Richards and Majority Whip Rob Wilkey. In that showdown, Richards shouted Wilkey out of his office and reminded him that he was the Speaker and his decision was final in the House. Wilkey apparently called the Speaker an S.O.B. on his way out the door.
A House divided, A Governor doing all the right things all the wrong ways has led to a lot of hard feelings. One has to wonder if any consensus can be made on generating new revenue or getting enough votes to pass a gaming amendment. A few things are for certain- New alliances are being formed in the House with Greg Stumbo playing center stage. Speaker Richards and the Governor's popularity are waining by the moment. The House has the worst of political scenarios, going on the record to raise taxes only to maybe see it all die in the Senate at the hands of Sen. David Williams who will protect his membership from having to make tough votes that might cost them in November.
The Governor needs to round up Ford, Collins, Jones, Cox and maybe a few others and have them go break bread or drink a beer or two with House members and leadership. It is apparent that the debate in Frankfort is more about getting even now as opposed to gaining consensus on Kentucky's problems and the solutions required to Move Kentucky Forward.