Pensions, tax reform and Road Fund are main topics discussed Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce event

12/13/2017 12:43 PM

COVINGTON – Northern Kentucky business leaders and legislators were in Covington on Monday night to talk about the upcoming 2018 session and all agree it will be a tough session with pension reform being the first thing that needs to be resolved.

The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce event, Where We Stand 2018, outlines the chambers priorities for the upcoming budget session and featured a panel discussion with Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, Rep. Sal Santoro, R-Union, and Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence.

Wuchner was among the House members to sign a letter sent last week to Gov. Matt Bevin that he not call a special session dealing with pension reform, but wait until the 2018 session which begins on January 2.

Wuchner says the main reason for the request was to save money for the cost of a special session and simply a finished bill was not firmly in place and ready to be scored by certain groups.

“That actually would be the KTRS, the teachers and the state pension, so both get the opportunity to score that,” Wuchner said. “One thing we do know, the pension is going to cost more.”

Everyone agrees that the three main issues in 2018 will be pension reform, the budget, and tax reform.

Moser believes that pension reform needs to be the first thing to be dealt with prior to the budget, because the budget will be dependent on the pension outcome.

As for tax reform, Moser says don’t look for a major overhaul this session.

“We haven’t had exhaustive conversations abut tax reform as we’ve had about the pension, so I expect those conversations will be had and I look forward to getting down to Frankfort and getting into the session so that we can start working on these things,” Moser said.

One solution being suggested by some to solve the pension crisis is to adopt a one cent sales tax increase, something that Sen. Schroder says will not solve the issue totally and is something that most lawmakers would not be interested in doing.

“This budget session alone, we’re looking at a $2.1 billion liability and raising the sales tax a penny would roughly raise raise $600 million, so it’s not a silver bullet for the pensions,” Schroder said.

Another key component for the upcoming session is the road fund.

Rep. Sal Santoro, who is the chair of the Transportation committee, says that transportation dollars have been swept in past years and used to fund departments and items which should have ha money come out of the general budget.

“That Road Fund is economic development,” Santoro said. “We build roads for schools, it’s for shopping centers, it’s for transportation.”


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