Fletcher offers cooperation

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Local officials say they know state budget cuts are a reality, but want to make sure they're done equitably and without some bearing a harsher burden than others.

Those were some of the sentiments expressed after Gov. Ernie Fletcher's first State of the Commonwealth address delivered Tuesday at the Capitol. Fletcher talked of tough economic times for the state, but touted new initiatives and the need for tax reform.

"The state of the commonwealth is as challenging as it has ever been in the modern age," said Fletcher. "We are prepared for the challenge, but let's not mince words: this is a government with problems at its very core, and those problems have festered for decades."

Rep. Derrick Graham, a Democrat representing Franklin County, supported the need for tax reform, one of his own campaign pledges. But Graham is also watchful as legislators prepare to pass another budget, maintaining he doesn't want to see education jeopardized.

"I just want the administration to be upfront with people," said Graham, who said one of his main concerns is making sure education is properly funded.

"Being an educator, I'm aware of how important those resources are."

Graham said Fletcher is faced with a more difficult challenge than his predecessor, Paul Patton.

"Last session we robbed Peter to pay Paul," said Graham. "We don't have that anymore. It's going to be more difficult to balance the budget."

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.