Northern Kentucky legislators say tax reform will be no easy process

01/27/2017 01:02 PM

CRESCENT SPRINGS – Republican legislators told members of the Northern Kentucky Tea Party on Thursday that tax reform may be taken up during a special session in 2017, but there will be many things to iron out before a agreement can take place.

Three members of the General Assembly, Rep. Joe Fischer, R-Ft. Thomas, Rep. Kim Moser, R-Independence, and Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, addressed the group at their monthly meeting and looked ahead to what might be taken up when the House and Senate reconvene on February 7.

During the first five days, seven priority House and Senate bills were passed, but Fischer says look for the pace to slow down considerably when lawmakers return to the capitol.

“I think there will be more time to talk to our colleagues in the Senate about their feelings on a bill,” Fischer said. “It’s interesting that we’re in the same party now, we can cooperate on language of these bills, because the devil is in the details.”

Fischer believes that a couple of bills which will receive strong consideration include school choice and justice reform.

“It looks like the Criminal Justice Council that the governor appointed will come up with some fairly interesting recommendations on how to reform our criminal justice system,” Fischer said. “That will be a big ticket item.”

Moser, a Registered Nurse with a specialty in Neonatal ICU and flight nursing, believes that medical review panels, a form of tort reform, will see light during the session.

“I’m very interested in keeping the cost of health care down and I think the practice of practicing defensive medicine really drives up that cost,” Moser said. “We want to make sure that it is a good bill.”

Another hot button issue which may or may not be addressed in 2017 is tax reform.

Gov. Matt Bevin appears eager to call a special session for legislators to pass some meaningful reform, but Fischer says before any session is called, an agreement has to be in place which could be easier said than done.

“That’s going to take a massive effort by the governor’s office, the Senate, and the House, and I suggest the first place to start is Rep. Farmer’s bill that was proposed about five years ago when that tax commission was formed,” Fischer said. “I think there a sentiment moving toward a consumption based tax and I think it provides an interesting template for tax reform.”

Schroder agrees that tax reform needs to happen but says that the most
challenging thing will be to come up with an agreement that all parts of the state can be happy with.

“We see what’s worked, especially for Tennessee and Indiana, but they have a little bit different economy,” Schroder said. “In northern Kentucky, we have to consider if we go heavy on sales tax, there’s always going to be winners and losers. Are people going to cross the river just to get their groceries? I mean, that’s something I know the Northern Kentucky Caucus is going to have to take a look at. Sometimes what’s best down by the Tennessee border isn’t going to be what’s best for the Ohio or Indiana border.”


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