Bruce Lunsford says Beshear will likely win big despite not articulating a vision

10/04/2011 08:00 AM

The governor’s race might be “over,” said former Democratic candidate Bruce Lunsford, but Gov. Steve Beshear still hasn’t articulated a vision for where he wants the state to go.

Lunsford and current House Speaker Greg Stumbo ran as a ticket and finished second to Beshear and lieutenant governor candidate Daniel Mongiardo in the 2007 Democratic primary.

Lunsford said in an interview at his Louisville office that he thought Beshear is in control of this fall’s race. But he said he’s been disappointed that the governor hasn’t offered more specific plans for his second term.

“I don’t know where Steve Beshear’s priorities are. I really don’t have any idea,” he said. “… I don’t hear a vision from anybody.”

Lunsford served as Commerce Secretary for Gov. John Y. Brown Jr. during the early 1980s before launching a nursing home and hospital business. That company, Vencor Inc., took off before running into bankruptcy problems in the late 1990s.

But at its height, in 1994, Lunsford told Louisville’s Business First that he would have moved his company to Florida because it had a more favorable tax climate — except that he felt loyal to Kentucky.

“If I wasn’t from Kentucky, and I did a study from a pure dollars and cents standpoint, Kentucky wouldn’t be in the top 10,” Lunsford said to the business publication at the time. “I am in Kentucky because I was raised here, and I am loyal to Kentucky. I want to see Kentucky do better. I have been fighting this battle for years.”

In his interview with Pure Politics, Lunsford said tax reform is something that leaders need to take up.

Lunsford said the Brown administration toyed with pushing to eliminate the personal and corporate income tax. But he said it proved to be politically impossible because too many people objected to spreading the sales tax out to other sectors to make up for the lost revenue.

As for making another run for office, Lunsford was definitive. Lunsford tried twice for governor — in 2003 and 2007 — and for U.S. Senate against Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2008.

“I’m done,” he said.


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