Thursday, March 18, 2004

House balks at Fletcher plan

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - A day after Gov. Ernie Fletcher's tax plan arrived in bill form, Democrats who control the House said it might not be put to a vote.

Speaker Jody Richards said it would be "virtually impossible" to get it passed in the time remaining - 10 business days left in the 2004 General Assembly - unless the Senate agreed to make the first move.

Senate President David Williams said House leaders, primarily Richards, were being obstructionists.

Richards, D-Bowling Green, noted that the bill is 261 pages and would require much analysis. He said the Republican-controlled Senate could speed matters by adding Fletcher's tax plan to the budget bill, which the Senate already has pending.

Fletcher said the legislature should waste no time changing the tax code to ease the load on businesses and individuals.

Fletcher proposed a combination of tax cuts and tax increases, most notably a 26-cent increase in the excise tax on cigarettes.

The plan had to be "revenue neutral," in keeping with the Republican Fletcher's campaign promise not to raise taxes.

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