Beshear outlines familiar goals in inauguration speech and hints at eventual tax reform

12/13/2011 05:48 PM

Governor Steve Beshear used his second inaugural address to lay out his priorities of reforming education, allowing expanded gambling and continuing to expand children’s health care, while also raising the specter of tax reform.

Beshear specifically called for raising the drop out age and the need for additional revenue through expanded gambling. He also said he wants to continue pushing to expand health care programs for children. His administration expanded the Kentucky Childrens Health Insurance Program during his first term.

Beshear renewed his call for the state to cover additional costs for preschool and kindergarten programs — a pledge left over from his 2007 campaign for governor.

And Beshear gave a hint that he would be open to tax reform but added the familiar caveat that the economy needs to improve first.

Earlier in the day, the governor told reporters he planned to push a constitutional amendment to the General Assembly to introduce expanded gambling.

And he mentioned it again in his inauguration speech, just seconds after pitching the idea of tax reform once the national recession fully subsides.

Beshear also continued his anti-gridlock campaign message to start the speech, saying inauguration wasn’t about one man or one party. And the governor said Frankfort needs to avoid the paralysis-inducing partisanship of Washington D.C.

After the speech, members of both political parties said they heard what they expected from Beshear.

House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, said he thought Beshear’s message of bipartisanship was “good.”

State Rep. Brent Yonts, a Democrat from Greenville, said Beshear’s forward-looking message was what the public and the legislature needed to hear.

And Charlene Jones, a resident of Nelson County, said she believed Beshear would accomplish all his proposals by the end of his second term.

-Reporting and video production by Kenny Colston, Nick Storm and Don Weber.

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