It's time for businesses tax breaks and credits to prove their worth, Rep. Wayne says

05/13/2014 11:54 AM

Democratic Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, said Kentucky lawmakers must get more aggressive in making companies prove that billions of dollars Kentucky gives them in tax incentives and credits are doing what they are supposed to.

Wayne, one of the more progressive lawmakers, said many of the tax incentives serve their purpose to spur expansions or attract companies. Others, he said, probably don’t because many have been on the books for decades — unchecked.

Kentucky gives about $7.9 billion a year in tax revenue back to companies in the form of incentives or credits, according to updated state figures.

“Some of those are really targeted,” Wayne said.

The General Assembly, for instance, approved an additional tax break for the bourbon industry as part of a revenue measure to go along with the budget this year. Wayne said that makes sense.

“The bourbon industry is just really booming right now. We know it’s producing jobs. If we can encourage that and we can expand something that’s already a winning horse we should do that,” Wayne said (5:10).

But Wayne wants the General Assembly to pass only temporary tax breaks that “sunset” after a certain period time.

“They should always be done strategically. They should always be done as leverage to retain or expand jobs here. And they should be evaluated,” Wayne said (5:45)

“If it’s worthwhile we renew it. If it’s not, let it die,” he added.

Here’s the interview with Wayne about Kentucky’s taxes, including what’s next for tax reform after another session of inaction on the subject:


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