Uncertainty slowing Kentucky's economy, job growth says Chamber's president

08/11/2011 12:23 PM

Economic uncertainty is keeping Kentucky businesses from expanding and adding jobs, said Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson.

He said the debt ceiling debate in Washington has made matters worse across the country instead of adding to confidence in the United States economy. That’s had a chilling affect on the economy.

“In an already frozen situation, this whole debate in Washington was another layer of ice,” Adkisson said.

That uncertainty has put Kentucky Chamber of Commerce members across the state a wait-and-see mode, Adkinson said.

“The stock market tanks and everybody gets nervous about their 401(k). I sense that the same sort of anxiety is in the business community. Businesses who think about adding another employee, adding another shift, adding another product line, re-opening another product line… they’re still waiting to see, where is all this going to be,” Adkisson said at the beginning of the interview.

It’s that uncertainty that has left businesses with something they don’t often have: cash.

“Lot of companies have a lot of cash right now because they’re not sure where to make their next move. They’re cautious,” Adkisson said.

Turning to Kentucky specific issues, the Kentucky corporate income tax has been a hot topic of debate among conservatives in Kentucky politics. Republicans have argued Kentucky should eliminate its corporate income tax and move toward a consumption tax.

The Chamber favors tax reform, which includes closing some tax loopholes that give certain businesses advantages others don’t enjoy.

“I’m sure there are some that would be very popular with the broader public. There are others that were created through some historical circumstance or political circumstance that might need to be re-visited. And we’re open to that,” Adkisson said.

He added that Kentucky’s corporate income tax is a major factor influencing whether Kentucky gets companies to re-locate to the state.

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