There are lots of items on the negotiating table as legislative leaders from the House and Senate try to reach agreement on a state budget. That includes a matter near and dear to lawmakers and visitor’s stomachs.
Along with discussions about education funding, Medicaid, and pensions, lawmakers are debating the future of the Capital Annex Cafeteria.
The Governor suggested eliminating funding. The House budget put the money back in and the Senate version of the two year budget removed the full $170,000 in cafeteria funding. Senate Budget Committee Chair Chris McDaniel. “I hope that something is able to be worked out, but certainly I don’t see having a cafeteria in the basement as a fundamental function of government when we’ve got the issues we have,” said McDaniel.
Senate President Robert Stivers says he understands the need for the cafeteria, saying it would be difficult for lawmakers and visitors to go off site for lunch. But he says operating the cafeteria at a loss when the legislature isn't in session is a concern. Former House Speaker Jody Richards believes a new public-private arrangement might deserve a look. “During the interim, it’s problematic because we’re not up here all the time, but during the sessions, it certainly needs to be open,” noted Richards.
Richards says he’s been eating in the cafeteria since he came to Frankfort in the mid 1970’s. It will be one more item to iron out during budget negotiations which resume today.