Too late for tax reform in 2014, House Speaker says

11/14/2013 08:24 AM

Despite bipartisan agreement that Kentucky could use some type of tax code changes, the chances of that happening in 2014 are slim to none, House Speaker Greg Stumbo told Pure Politics.

“I don’t think the groundwork has been laid to make tax reform an issue in this session,” said Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.

While he went on to say that he believes a governor must “lay the groundwork” with Kentuckians for any major tax code changes, Stumbo wouldn’t criticize Gov. Steve Beshear for not doing more on the issue in advance of the 2014 session.

Instead he said there could be a small window of opportunity to pass something in 2015 even as the next governor’s race is in full swing.

“I didn’t say it was the right time, I said there is a window,” he said. “It might not open.”

Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly have called for tax reform to make Kentucky more attractive to companies and to help state revenue grow more with the economy. But aside from agreeing on the need to do something, no detailed plan has emerged. And many lawmakers have said the governor must first take the lead.

A group headed up by Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson crafted recommendations to revamp the tax code last year. The General Assembly used a few of the recommendations to provide more money to cover the state’s obligations to the Kentucky Retirement System.

While Stumbo said he agreed with some concepts in the report, he said he he wasn’t “impressed” overall.

(Coming tonight on Pure Politics: Why Stumbo predicts a “destructive” budget and what his top funding priorities would be in the next two year state spending plan.)


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