Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Outlines Basis for Budget Turnaround Statement
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Fletcher today outlined the basis for his repeated statement that, at the time he was inaugurated he faced a billion dollar deficit.
“The public record clearly shows that I inherited a $303 million dollar budget shortfall in the first year and that the government itself was projecting a shortfall of $710 million for the following year,” said Governor Fletcher. “To bring both years into balance, I had to act immediately to make government work more efficiently and to stimulate the state’s economy.”
The Governor stated that his references to a billion dollar deficit are “absolutely authentic” based on the public records from his first months in office. “I have not heard any better way of quantifying the financial crisis which we faced during our first 18 months,” said Governor Fletcher.
The Governor stated that he was pleased with Governor Patton’s recent acknowledgement that the Kentucky economy “took off like a rocket.” For his part, Governor Fletcher stated that the list of needs outlined in the Patton Administration’s report (“Kentucky’s Fiscal Crisis”) is reasonable.
“Looking back, it’s easy to say that the revenue forecasts behind the projected $710 million deficit were simply wrong or that the government underestimated its own ability to work more efficiently,” said Governor Fletcher.
“But I was the one who staked my political career on our ability to bring back our economy, create new jobs, run government more efficiently and avoid the tax increases being advocated. I was the one who had to make the hard decisions on spending cuts.”
At the time of his inauguration, the state’s rainy day fund was virtually depleted. At the end of his first 18 months in office, Governor Fletcher posted a $214 million General Fund surplus, one of the largest in the state’s history.
Governor Fletcher cited his Medicaid reform, his decision to self-fund the state’s health insurance plan, his reduction in the number of cabinets and a reduction in the size of the state’s employment base as examples of the efficiencies his administration has achieved.
Editor's note: An op-ed from State Budget Director Brad Cowgill is attached.