Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
House Democrats Offer $800 Million In Promises Without a Way To Pay For Them

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, January 17, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Governor Fletcher today expressed surprise at the cost of legislative initiatives offered by House Democrats in recent weeks.

According to a budget analysis conducted by the Office of State Budget Director, the initiatives will result in additional spending of about $800 million, representing a 10 percent increase out of the general fund for the current fiscal year.

“Making promises is easy, keeping them is the hard part,” said Governor Fletcher on the eve of his State Budget Address.  “So far, the House Democrats haven’t shown where the money will come from to pay for all these initiatives.

“It is remarkable that they made all these promises without showing how we will fulfill our obligations in the critical areas of Medicaid, pension programs, health insurance for teachers and state workers, and increased prison population, all of which are experiencing dramatically increased costs.”

The Governor said he will strenuously oppose increasing taxes or raiding the state’s rainy day fund.

“Years without enacted budgets and raids on the rainy day fund have already put us on Wall Street's watch list.” Governor Fletcher said. “If this level of spending causes our bond rating to fall, we would pay for it in higher interest costs and deprive our budget of opportunities for education and economic development for generations.”

Last summer, Governor Fletcher transferred $90 million of his FY05 General Fund surplus to the rainy day fund in order to strengthen the state’s bond rating at a time when the state is undertaking a large construction program.

Governor Fletcher will deliver his budget address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, January 17, from the House Chambers. The address will be carried live on Kentucky Educational Television (KET).