Governor Fletcher’s Efficiencies Bring Positive Change for all of Kentucky
Frankfort, KY: Despite inheriting a fiscal crisis and having to manage the state without a legislatively enacted budget, Governor Ernie Fletcher is keeping his promise to the people of Kentucky.
“In our first 12 months, we’ve restored fiscal responsibility, maintained services – even restored benefits to our seniors – all without raising taxes,” Governor Fletcher said. “Additionally, we saved the taxpayers more than $115 million by finding efficiencies and uncovering waste, fraud and abuse.
“The people of Kentucky elected me to clean up the mess in Frankfort, and I am pleased to report that my administration is fulfilling that commitment.” Several examples of taxpayer savings include:
- Less than one month after inauguration, Governor Fletcher resolved a $302 million fiscal year 2004 budget deficit by bringing spending under control and instituting a $100 million budget stability initiative in every cabinet and agency.
- The Transportation Cabinet has saved more than $74 million through greater oversight and efficiency in areas such as overtime reduction, contract bidding and increased scrutiny of contract change orders.
- The Kentucky Racing Commission was disbanded and replaced with the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority. An investigation discovered that an employee was paid $10,000 to travel from home to work. An Ohio consultant received $30,000 even though state law prohibits the money to be spent out of state and another employee was being paid as both executive director and chief steward.
- More than $300,000 in uncashed checks were found in a desk drawer; and in another instance, $50,000 was recovered after it was embezzled from a state agency.
- More than 2150 ProCards (which are like credit cards used for purchases by state employees) were recaptured throughout state government. In addition, the credit limits on the remaining cards have been reduced by $285 million per year.
“The fact that my administration has saved the taxpayers more than $115 million dollars, simply by running state government more efficiently, is tremendous,” Governor Fletcher continued. “We are changing the way state government does business, and we are improving the value of the services we provide. I’m confident we will recognize even more notable savings over the next several years.”
The Governor’s continuous efforts to provide new jobs and opportunity have resulted in $1.8 billion in new industrial investment in Kentucky.
“Since being sworn into office, my top priority has been to increase economic development and employment opportunities for all Kentuckians,” said Governor Fletcher. “Nearly 32,000 new jobs have been created in the past year. Additionally, numerous nationally and internationally known companies have committed to building or expanding in Kentucky.”
Also during the administration’s first year, Governor Fletcher laid the foundation for education improvements designed to “re-kindle the fire for education.” Kentucky’s first comprehensive drug control plan to protect Kentucky families and communities from substance abuse was announced and “Kentucky: Unbridled Spirit” was unveiled as the new state brand just last month.
Strong Foundation for 2005
Looking ahead, the Governor’s JOBS for Kentucky plan—tax reform—tops the priority list for 2005.
“Tax modernization and a budget are crucial to moving Kentucky forward,” Fletcher said. “I am committed to working with the Legislature so those initiatives will pass in the next session. They are important for creating jobs and for our economic well-being. As a result, they impact education and all the other important programs we fund. They are the cornerstones for our commonwealth. Tax modernization has been unsuccessfully attempted for several decades. I believe we will accomplish it in 2005.”
Education and energy initiatives are also key components to moving Kentucky forward.
Governor Fletcher concluded “I am confident that, together, we can find solutions to these challenges. I will continue to bring a new approach to government and work for change that improves the future for families all across this Commonwealth.”