Several Democratic lawmakers say they're disappointed Beshear isn't pushing for more tax revenue

01/24/2012 08:41 PM

Three Central Kentucky House Democrats said this week that the biggest missed opportunity in the governor’s two-year budget proposal was Gov. Steve Beshear’s failure to call for some tax increases to raise revenue for education and human services.

Lexington Democratic Reps. Susan Westrom and Kelly Flood and Midway Democratic Rep. Carl Rollins — the House Education Committee chairman — said Monday that they were glad to see the governor protect K-12 education from cuts and add money for social services and public defenders.

But each said crucial areas of human services need more resources, especially after some of those agencies have taken collective 25-35 percent in cuts over the last four years.

“The real courage legislators and the governor need to have is actually bring about meaningful tax reform. By meaningful, I mean new revenue,” Rollins said. (2:00 of the video)

The three were responding to questions at a forum at the Lexington Step Up for Kids Day organized by youth and social services advocacy groups. All three were asked to give one thing they liked in the governor’s proposal and one issue they disagreed with:

Beshear did announce a tax reform task force headed up by Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson that will make recommendations about how to change the state’s tax revenue system. That group has not yet been appointed.

Flood went on to say she was most disappointed that Beshear didn’t use some of his political capital coming off his 20-point victory in the November governor’s race to call for fee or tax increases to go toward human services.

“This is where the need is the greatest,” she said in the video. “This is the moment where the governor could have taken a really strong moral stand, and I was surprised that he didn’t.”

Watch her full answer:


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