By: Jack LattaStaff Writer
August 2, 2012
PRESTONSBURG — A public hearing to address potential revisions to the Kentucky Tax Code will take place next Tuesday in Prestonsburg on the campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College.
In February, Gov. Steve Beshear announced that 23 Kentuckians, representing a broad spectrum of public and private sector experience and all corners of the state, would serve on the new Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform.
Since then, groups of civic and business leaders, headed by Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson have been traveling the state hearing the questions and concerns from the communities with regard to possible revisions to the Kentucky Tax code.
“We’ve had great turnout in terms of commission members who have given their time to come to the hearings and listen,” said Abramson.
Lt. Governor Abramson says that so far the meetings have been very informative, and that most of the attendee’s have spoke to the “adequacy side of the ledger.” Abramson says that at least 60 percent of the people who have spoken so far have been elementary school teachers, professors, presidents of universities, police officials, and social service groups who have addressed “the needs of Kentucky.”
According to Abramson, the governor added five stipulations when he signed the executive order to review the tax code. That the code be is fair as possible, that it keep Kentucky competitive as possible, to insure that the code is as simple to comply with as possible, to ensure that the code is elastic as possible, and finally, to insure that the revenues generated from tax code revisions would provide adequate funding in the future to the services that people want.
The remaining 40 percent have come with ideas of how to change the code, or raise revenues, says Abramson.
“The game plan is to finish in Lexington at the end of August, and work with out consultants, as they look at not only how our taxes measure up to other states, but how our expenditures measure up to other states,” said Abramson. Abramson says that they hope to have the results at the first of September and will make a proposal of recommendations to Governor Beshear.
“Maybe out of those recommendations, we can find common ground where we all can agree, and position Kentucky, once the recession is over, to be a very competitive state.”
In 2011, the national Tax Foundation ranked Kentucky as the 19th best in its business tax climate and growth rate. A report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Kentucky eighth in the nation for it’s taxes and regulations, and 12th in job growth.
In February, Gov. Beshear said the, despite the high marks, Kentucky still has room to improve its tax code for the better.
The meeting will be held Tuesday, August 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Gearheart Auditorium on the campus of BSCTC. Those who wish to speak at the conference, should arrive early to sign up.