Senate wants to work on tax reform but not willing to see tax increases, Thayer says

05/30/2013 09:12 AM

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said the Senate is looking to get something done on tax reform in the next session, but raising taxes on individuals and businesses would be a “non-starter” in his chamber.

Because of the direct effect revenue decisions have on the budget, Thayer said he believes tax reform can and should be done in the context of the budget session in 2014 but that there will need to be discussions on the detail of any changes to the tax code.

“We want a tax code that encourages growth, that does not punish innovation, that does not punish free enterprise. We want a growth based strategy that allows this economy to grow and to soar and to put people back to work in the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Thayer said (at 4:45). “And if we can work on that with the Governor then I think there is a chance we can achieve some form of tax reform.”

Thayer said he will be for tax reform if the changes made to the tax code encourage growth and takes the burden off individuals and businesses.

“We know that there is a tax policy out there that creates more revenue for government, it is called tax cuts,” Thayer said. “Calvin Coolidge did it, John F. Kennedy did it, Ronald Reagan did it, George W. Bush did it. We ought to try it here in Kentucky.”

Gov. Steve Beshear has said he wants to work with leaders of both chambers to get a consensus on tax reform in order to bring the state’s tax code into the 21st century. Thayer said those discussions have not begun but he hopes that they will soon.

“That is the Steve Beshear that I know, the collaborative, bipartisan, consensus builder. I am disappointed with his unilateralism on medicaid reform,” Thayer said (at 2:30-4:30). “I look forward to working with him on the tax reform issue but this medicaid issue is going to be a budget driver in the next season and it will also affect tax reform.”


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