"No matter what we do it is going to be controversial," Thayer says on tax reform

04/17/2017 12:32 PM

FRANKFORT — Gov. Matt Bevin has been crystal clear in his calls for a special session to address tax and pension reform later this year, but in the General Assembly there exists a lot more questions on what that will entail.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, says currently the two bills, pension and tax reform, are not written and he envisions is taking several months to find agreement on the details once they are put together.

Because of the major task, Thayer is advocating for the special session to be called in September. He said that time frame would allow for an agreement between lawmaker and the executive branch, and still allow time for Bevin to sell the proposal to the people of Kentucky.

Recently the idea has been floated to potentially tax groceries. Thayer said he and his caucus are not talking specifics of any plan, but he did say if that was on the table he’d be in favor of a “massive cut or overall elimination of the personal income tax.”

“The only way that you can sell to people that taxes on consumption are going to go up or be applied more broadly is you have to say ‘look, you’re going to have more money in your paycheck every week or every two-weeks, because there’s going to be a massive cut or elimination of the personal income tax,” he said.

Gov. Bevin has been adamant that tax reform should create additional revenue to pay down the pension system. What an offset that Thayer proposes could do is ensure tax reform is revenue neutral — which would not align with Bevin’s stated goal.

“Nobody here as a Republican ran on raising taxes, but I think we did run on creating a tax code that is more business friendly,” he said.

When it comes to pensions, Thayer said the Senate is ready to deal with “everything outside the inviolable contract.” For Future employees of state government and teachers the Majority Floor Leader expects to see a “whole new system”

Thayer is proposing “more cuts to spending” when the two-year state budget is written in the next legislative session in 2018. However, he did agree that the state of pension funding is bad enough that the state “can’t cut ourselves” to solvency.

“I think it’s going to be really hard to sell to the taxpayers of Kentucky that they’re going to have to bear a tax increase to pay for public employee pensions,” Thayer said.

Of course, that could be the position lawmakers find themselves in during a special legislative session later this year.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News or anytime with Spectrum On Demand.Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

7 Comments

Comments

  • Heza Putz wrote on April 17, 2017 02:40 PM :

    Increase taxes for all Kentuckians to pay for a benefit only Kentuckians working for government receive….what could go wrong with that?

  • Bill Adkins wrote on April 17, 2017 05:11 PM :

    Less services, higher costs, infrastructure crumbling, pension crisis worsening, Bevin Administration under FBI investigation, tax reform republican speak for lower taxes for corporations/higher income and higher taxes for middle class — for all the pot stirring, the result is Bevinistan. Are you better off now than you were in 2015?

  • sad ky worker wrote on April 18, 2017 08:32 AM :

    If the taxpayer is on the hook for the pensions of state employees and teachers then we should be getting a piece of every pork barrel project that has been funded over the last 15 years because that’s how long it has been since the General Assembly has properly funded the pension system. We work for retirement security just like everyone else. If an employer in the private sector diverted funds that were supposed to pay the 401k match, it would be called embezzlement and the public would be up in arms and ready to go after the employer. Remember Enron? But leaving state employees and teachers out to dry? No one seems to have a problem with that.

  • sad ky worker wrote on April 18, 2017 08:32 AM :

    If the taxpayer is on the hook for the pensions of state employees and teachers then we should be getting a piece of every pork barrel project that has been funded over the last 15 years because that’s how long it has been since the General Assembly has properly funded the pension system. We work for retirement security just like everyone else. If an employer in the private sector diverted funds that were supposed to pay the 401k match, it would be called embezzlement and the public would be up in arms and ready to go after the employer. Remember Enron? But leaving state employees and teachers out to dry? No one seems to have a problem with that.

  • Ricky Lee Williams Jr. wrote on April 18, 2017 10:41 AM :

    We need a candidate who is from the Reagan Democrat or Kasich GOP wing to get ready to run for Governor. If this special session is called this year it will turn out to be the nail in Bevin’s coffin. It will turn out like the ACA collapse in Washington last month. Washington has to do tax reform first , before KY can understand the effects from that. Also , the Coal jobs aren’t coming back. This state is in desire straights for at least the next 4 -6 years.

    Any Republican saying that Tax reform session will be called this year , needs to then explain the plan. And they can’t. Governor Bevin doesn’t even know what it will look like. Anything that resembles Kansas , Laffer reform bill, will then have given the democrats the House and Governorship back over in 2018/19. We will also lose Senate seats..

    The lack of vision , truth, and leadership , is amazing to me. Both coming out of Washington and Frankfort , from the GOP majorities… RL

  • Ricky Lee Williams Jr. wrote on April 18, 2017 01:15 PM :

    I’ve asked Nick Storm to bring me on the show for an interview. Nick said he was booked up for the next month. Then he will try to have me on.

    Anyone who has contact with Matt Jones , give him my name and number. Would like to talk middle ground politics on his radio show. Thanks, RL

  • GildaT wrote on April 23, 2017 03:25 AM :

    The taxpayers of the Commonwealth should NOT be responsible for the mistakes made by the incompetent Board for the State pension system – it either sinks or swims of its’ own accord, without taxpayer funds. There is no ability to withdraw for private taxpayers and thereby should be no cost to our wallets. That money can, and should, be spent in much better ways – for every Kentuckian, not just a select few who chose to place their trust in those that have proven to not be trustworthy.

    And as for a tax code for the Commonwealth – the FairTax method looks like a much better system than here a little and there a little. A point of sale – P.O.S. at a rate for everyone, no exemptions or exceptions for anyone (including charities, governments,corporations, churches, etc.) on NEW items and non nutritional, sugary, and precooked foods would make everyone pay a fair rate – even drug dealers.

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