Fletcher/Richards Spar Over Budget

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Two days into a new fiscal year without a final state budget, Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher and Democratic House Speaker Jody Richards continued their public debate Friday.

Speaking at a press conference to address his spending plan for the state, Fletcher accused Richards of "negotiating generally in the press. That's just, forgive me, it's not the way to negotiate. Him continuing down that line is not productive as far as I see and it doesn't indicate to me a serious effort of trying to reach some sort of compromise," Fletcher said.

In a prepared statement, Richards responded saying: "It is regrettable that Governor Fletcher continues his personal attacks on me and House leadership when he knows that I have initiated several telephone calls to him and Senator Williams to start the negotiating process toward approving a budget. Personal attacks do not accomplish anything. Real negotiation and compromise would."

State government continues to operate under the Governor's spending plan, which will continue to finance state services, but cannot fund any new construction projects.