Governor Outlines Plans for Stronger Kentucky

Governor Outlines Plans for Stronger Kentucky

Governor Steve Beshear gives his 5th State of the Commonwealth address.
     For the 5th time Wednesday night, Governor Steve Beshear gave the State of the Commonwealth address, outlining his plans to build a stronger Kentucky.

     "It is time to be decisive and aggressive," says Gov. Beshear.

     He says balancing the budget has been and will continue to be a struggle, "the key to balancing the budget is not on the revenue side, but on the spending side.  We will be cutting."

     And Gov. Beshear says expanded gaming is a long-term way to improve state revenue, "hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue are leaving our state.  We might as well be backing trucks filled with cash up to the Ohio River and dumping that money into the water."

     The second thing the Governor wants to do is to reform the state tax code to stay competitive, "to prepare ourselves to compete in the future, we must, in a strategic and non-partisan way, re-align our system with the principals of fairness and with a 21st century economy."

     Jobs will also be a top priority for the Governor.  He says, "we will continue programs that you and I created in 2009 to recruit new companies and to help existing Kentucky companies expand work forces, facilities and operations."

     Improving graduation rates and fighting prescription drug abuse also remain on the Governor's agenda.
     After the Governor's speech here in House chambers, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President David Williams responded, calling his address vague but say they're ready to get to work with the Governor.

     "I mean he didn't really line out any agenda tonight.  I thought he was pleasant tonight but he talked about expansion of gambling, 18-year-old drop-out.  He didn't mention the word coal in there at all.  He didn't talk about really the medicaid issues that we have.  I don't know what happened to the surplus that he's been talking about," says Sen. Williams.

     "I thought he was on-balance, fair.  I would agree that there was, as Sen. Williams said earlier, there was a somewhat guarded response as far as the audience, down on the floor, was concerned when he mentioned expanded gaming and I think maybe part of that is because there hasn't been a proposal that's actually been out there to be vetted, to be looked at," explains Rep. Stumbo.

     Many of these issues will be debated when the legislative session continues.

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