Governor Fletcher's tax reform plan faces an uphill battle for passage in this General Assembly session. The 51-day old session will enter its final week without a final bill concerning tax reform from the House or Senate.
Speaker of the House Jody Richards (D-Bowling Green) says the Governor's staff submitted the plan to the House on Tuesday night, which he believes is too late to have a bill originate from the House for this session. Richards says the plan's best chance for passage would be if the Senate added an amendment to an existing House bill in the Senate for consideration. The Speaker says he is for the principle of tax reform, but is still unsure about the specifics of Fletcher's plan.
The Governor's plan includes a 26 cent increase in the state cigarette tax, a reduction of as much as a third of the income tax, and removing 125,000 of the state's poorest people from the income tax rolls altogether.
Republican leaders are accusing Richards of stalling or delaying the tax plan's progress, but Richards says he is making sure the legislative process is "deliberative."