Top Ky. Senate Democrat says tax reform is realistic, casino bill is possible in 2014

06/21/2013 10:45 AM

With a new-found cooperation in the state Capitol, Senate Democratic Leader R.J. Palmer said he’s “hopeful” 2014 will yield the most substantive changes to Kentucky’s tax code in decades.

“We’ve studied it. We’ve talked about it. We’ve kicked it around. We’ve nibbled around the edges of it,” Palmer said (at 4:00 of the interview). “I’m ready for us to step up and do something bold.”

Palmer said he expects the changes to use as a foundation the recommendations from a task force led by Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson in 2012. And specifically, he wants to see a “a balance” between reductions to income taxes and a broadening of the sales tax. He answered questions about the corporate income tax (1:45), personal income tax (2:15), sales tax and the addition of the earned income tax credit (3:30).

Palmer also agreed with Senate President Robert Stivers , who told Pure Politics this week that Gov. Steve Beshear needs to drum up public support first.

“In order to push that along, I think the governor will — and I think he should — start making the case to the people of the state, and say, ‘Here’s what I’m talking about when I say that we need tax reform. Here’s why we need it. And here’s what it would look like,” Palmer said (1:00).

While talking about revenue, Palmer also said he expects Beshear to make another push to allow casino gambling through a constitutional amendment. (That discussion begins at 5:00 of the interview.)

And specifically, he said the horse industry needs to be on the same page. “At the end of the day, they need to have a consolidated position amongst the industry. And there are just many of us who just believe this is something the voters of the state just have to decide,” he said (6:00).

And he answered questions about what the amendment should look like, as well as what’s next for online gambling sites (7:00), the Kentucky Lottery Board’s move to allow KENO (7:45) and whether Kentucky should follow New Jersey and try to allow sports betting (8:30).

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