Sen. Parrett says tax reform should help with other money shortfalls -- if governor leads the push

07/09/2013 10:25 AM

Sen. Dennis Parrett, D-Elizabethtown, said he thinks tax reform is crucial for the state but is concerned that such a sweeping measure can’t get done at the same time as the next two-year budget.

Parrett said the bipartisan atmosphere in Frankfort during the 2013 session made it a “joy and a pleasure” to work in the Senate. And he said he hopes that will continue into the next session to accomplish complicated reforms, such as revamping the tax code.

But getting that done could depend on how Gov. Steve Beshear leads the effort, Parrett said.

“You know we had that Blue Ribbon Commission that had some wonderful ideas,” Parrett said (at 4:00 in video below). “People are going to differ on some of those things, certainly the major parts of that, but that is the key to where we are going to go. We have to have that tax reform done.”

Parrett also weighed in on whether Kentucky should consider reducing government expenses by slashing the number of counties from 120, for instance.

Parrett said tax reform could be a way to help find some revenue to help the pension system. And he said lawmakers will have to consider ways to help other agencies whose employees are in the Kentucky Retirement System, such as health departments and mental health agencies.

“It is just like our personal household budgets, it is a payment that has to be made,” Parrett said (at 2:00 in video below).

Parrett said that the issues quasi-governmental agencies face have to be addressed because if those agencies go bankrupt, the state retirement system loses money that it needs.

“It is still a debt to the state, we owe it to our retirees and our current employees and we have to come up with that money somewhere. So if it is taking some money from some other area where there is economic incentive or whatever it has to be shored up, it has to be.”

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