Citizens want more money for education, suggest revenue from online sales and pension taxes

06/20/2012 04:53 PM

BOWLING GREEN — The main message from many of the citizens to the group tasked with revamping Kentucky’s tax code was that public schools and colleges need more state funding so that more children can have access to better quality educations.

Educators, parents and students from the Bowling Green area were among those on Tuesday night who made their pleas to the 20 members of the governor’s commission that is looking at revamping Kentucky’s tax code. The group is supposed to recommend changes to Kentucky’s tax and revenue system by Thanksgiving.

Dana Beasley Brown, a Bowling Green member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, got emotional as she said she didn’t want her children to be hired because their the cheapest labor but rather the most qualified.

And Alan Smith, a Western Kentucky University graduate, said he’s dismayed that when he was college in 1999, tuition cost $1,100 per semester and now is nearly four times that.

This was the group’s second public meeting outside Frankfort. And like the first meeting last month in Paducah, many citizens urged the group to look for more revenue. But this time, ideas for finding more money were nearly as prevalent as the cases being made for more state revenue.

One former Western Kentucky University professor suggested more aggressive collection of sales taxes from out-of-state companies that sell their wares to Kentuckians through the Internet.

Quoting Kentucky Revenue Department figures, Steve Wells, the head of the WKU Accounting Department, said Kentucky brings in $10 million a year from people who voluntarily disclose their online purchases but Kentucky could bring as much as $110 million a year.

And two retirees suggested that the state tax pension and retirement account income the way the federal government does:

Abramson said after the forum that he was pleased to hear suggestions about where additional revenue could come from.

And with the forum at Greenwood High School being just about a half-hour away from the Tennessee-Kentucky line, the contrast between the two state’s tax systems was bound to come up.

Some pointed to Tennessee’s zero personal income tax rate as a competitive disadvantage for Kentucky, while one Tennessee resident said the state’s high sales tax that also applies to groceries shouldn’t be emulated. Here’s what they said:

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics with Ryan Alessi airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.

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