Fletcher Addresses State

By: Jon Hardison
By: Jon Hardison

In a move aimed at shoring up support for his tax reform plan, Governor Fletcher made his first statewide address since taking office in December.

The Governor's 12-minute speech made the case for his tax reform plan, which he says will stimulate the state's economy and create jobs.

Democratic leaders agree that tax reform is a must, but say Fletcher's plan is too tough on low-income families and farmers.

Conference committee negotiations over the House and Senate versions of the state's '04-'06 $15 billion budget are stalled largely because of the tax reform issue. Senate Republican leaders say the tax reform issue must be dealt with before moving on to the budget, while House Democrats say a budget should be taken care of now, and the tax reform issue can be revisited in a later session.

The General Assembly faces a constitutional deadline of April 15, when they must adjourn with or without a budget.

Governor Fletcher has said he would consider calling a special session of the General Assembly if no final budget plan is passed, but House Speaker Jody Richards (D)-Bowling Green says he opposes any special sessions.

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