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:

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  • David Adams wrote on June 21, 2012 09:11 AM :

    This is a pointless exercise until we cut spending. Start with eliminating state spending on tourism and economic development.

  • Cumberland Gap wrote on June 21, 2012 12:58 PM :

    These Bowling Green citizens are the same ones who stood up tall for Rand Paul and the Tea Party-in huge numbers. So, do they leave this meeting and go to the Liberty rally demanding less taxes, smaller government, and more spending for charter schools?

    In comparing Tennessee and Kentucky taxes, you failed to mention how cities like Nashville are allowed to tack on a big sales tax. Not in Kentucky.

  • mitzi wrote on June 21, 2012 12:58 PM :

    The journalists who write this stuff do not appear to be able to use words correctly. For example, in this article the word
    ‘their” is used instead of the correct “they’re”. It was not a direct quote so the proper usage is required.

    This seems to prove that we need better education.

  • Paul Hosse wrote on June 22, 2012 07:27 AM :

    Nope. There will be no taxes on the internest or pensions.

  • Bill Adkins wrote on June 24, 2012 08:18 AM :

    “…Tennessee has the 4th most regressive tax structure in the (United States)…” Balancing the budget on the backs of those least able to afford it is no solution. But one fact is apparent to any thinking American – (Tea Partiers naturally excluded) – we have a revenue problem and unless it’s addressed we’re going to have a infrastructure problem evident in decay, an education problem evident in decline, an unemployment problem evident in Depression. Doing nothing is not the answer but it’s certainly the strategy of those on the right and has been for more than a decade. The culmination of that strategy occurred in September 2008 and we’ve been paying the bill every since (the term “we” excludes banks and Wall Street).

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