Governor Fletcher Unveils JOBS For Kentucky, Budget Proposal to Legislators
Frankfort, KY: Governor Ernie Fletcher delivered his State of the Commonwealth address tonight to the three branches of state government and to families across Kentucky. During the address, Governor Fletcher unveiled JOBS For Kentucky, his tax modernization plan, and his 2005 budget proposal.
“This is a new year and a new opportunity. We are all Kentuckians and we all want Kentucky to flourish and prosper,” said Governor Fletcher.
Describing the current budget and tax code, Governor Fletcher said, “As we enter a new year, Kentucky is at a crossroad. One way is the timid status quo; the other is a courageous course that unbridles opportunity and prosperity. But to forge that path we must pass tax modernization.”
Governor Fletcher outlined two budget options. The option without tax modernization only provides for the immediate needs for Medicaid and healthcare for teachers and state employees and includes some new initiatives.
“This budget will allow us to continue government services, but it is not the vibrant vision we share for Kentucky,” said Governor Fletcher. “My vision for Kentucky is a Commonwealth where there is so much economic opportunity, and our quality of life is so high, that the people who are born here can stay here and the people who aren’t fortunate enough to be born in Kentucky can look forward to locating here.”
Governor Fletcher also outlined the specifics for his JOBS For Kentucky plan, which would modernize the tax system and help fulfill the vision for Kentucky. JOBS For Kentucky would:
- Create more than 10,000 additional jobs by its first full year of implementation
- Lower the individual income tax rate by 9 percent and reduce the income taxes on 99 percent of working Kentuckians
- Remove 211,000 filers, representing 485,000 Kentucky family members, from the tax rolls altogether
- Close the loopholes that allow out of state companies to avoid paying Kentucky taxes
- Eliminate the constitutional obstacles to enforcing Kentucky’s tax code
- Raise the cigarette tax
“The budget we can have under a more stable, modern tax system meets more needs,” said Governor Fletcher. “I propose that we invest the extra money to grow opportunity, build careers, and strengthen education. I prefer, and I believe Kentuckians prefer, this unbridled path.”
Kentucky’s current tax system is unfair and unreliable, and in some cases, unconstitutional. The current tax code is a system rooted in an economy nearly 100 years old.
Governor Fletcher emphasized the JOBS For Kentucky plan provides more revenue for the current budget cycle. For example, the extra revenue could provide:
- $35 million to primary and secondary education
- $10 million to bring the total for the flexible teacher pay program to keep and attract quality teachers to almost $36 million
- An additional $10 million to the already proposed $12 million to post-secondary education to help restore the funding lost in the last few years
- $26 million to the reserve fund
“I am optimistic about our future, because I know our people are good, our hope is unwavering, our faith is unshakable, and our spirit is unbridled,” Governor Fletcher concluded.
ATTACHED IS PREPARED TEXT OF GOVERNOR ERNIE FLETCHER’S STATE OF THE COMMONWEALTH ADDRESS.