Multiple special sessions could take place for tax and pension reform

08/11/2017 11:56 AM

FRANKFORT — With legislative leaders and Gov. Matt Bevin leaning toward splitting pension and tax reforms and dealing with the issues separately, it could create a scenario where more than one special session is called to address the issue.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, told Pure Politics on Thursday that depending on when the legislature wraps up a special session on pension reform, there’s a second session to deal with tax reform.

However, Thayer said it’s more likely that the General Assembly would deal with tax reform during the 2018 budget writing session.

“I don’t want to put any artificial timelines; I think that doesn’t work in our favor,” he said. “I think there still is the recognition that our tax code needs to be updated and made more business friendly to create more economic activity — i.e. jobs.”

The budget writing session of 2018 also coincides with the beginning of an election year where the entire House of Representatives and part of the state Senate will be up for re-election. Changing the tax code could prove unpopular in an election year.

Thayer said those election concerns, paired with a slew of first time representatives “plays into what we can get the votes to pass.”

“I think major decisions like that are always viewed through the prism of electoral politics, everybody who’s here wants to come back and represent their districts,” Thayer said.

The Georgetown Republican offered a message to “newer legislators” saying that “doing the right thing” on policy nearly always equates to electoral success.

Gov. Bevin is meeting with legislative leaders in the House and the Senate to work on issues on pension and tax reform. Thayer said GOP lawmakers are working hard to ensure that intraparty factionalism doesn’t halt progress on big issues.

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