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State Seal Commonwealth of Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Ernie Fletcher welcomes passage of budget to avoid disruption of state government operation
Press Release Date:  March 8, 2005
Contact:  Doug Hogan
Jeannie Lausche
502-564-2611
 

Frankfort, KY: Governor Ernie Fletcher today welcomed the General Assembly’s passage of a budget for the Executive Branch to ensure no disruption of state government operations for the remaining 15 months of the biennium.  
 
“I commend the Kentucky Senate and House for working together in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to get this budget bill passed,” Governor Fletcher stated. “It is important to have a legislatively enacted budget to dispel any questions about the constitutionality of spending for state government services.”
 
Governor Fletcher said the budget bill would be carefully reviewed. “I continue to be concerned about the amount of debt in this budget,” the governor stated. “We must guard against doing damage to our bond ratings or to encumbering too much of our future revenues for debt service.”
 
The governor presented a budget with $622 million in bonded debt. The budget bill finalized by Senate and House conferees has a bonded debt level of more than $1.89 billion.  Most of the bond debt is for universities, sewer projects and school construction.
 
As recommended by Governor Fletcher, both the Senate and House provided significant increases in General Fund money for Medicaid – a $93.7 million increase for the current fiscal year and $163.7 million more in fiscal 2006.
 
The budget also would provide for a 3 percent salary increase for teachers and state employees, beginning July 1. At the same time, it would add about $53 million in funding for public schools and about $50 million for universities.
 
Because the General Assembly failed to perform its legislative duty of passing a state budget in 2004, Governor Fletcher maintained all services of state government by enacting his own public services continuation plan. The constitutionality of the spending plan was challenged in a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court. The Kentucky Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case tomorrow.

 
“By working together and putting people before politics we can move this state forward and provide our citizens with new opportunities,” concluded Governor Fletcher.  “The bipartisan support for the budget and tax modernization bills, along with the positive working relationships created during this legislative session, lays the groundwork for future initiatives to move Kentucky forward.”

The legislation will now be sent to Governor Fletcher for his signature.






 

Last updated: Thursday, June 02, 2005