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Frankfort Local News

Tax Commissions Hears Past Reports, Delays Picking A Consultant

A commission tasked with coming up with elements of a new tax code for Kentucky held its second meeting in Frankfort today.

The group is chaired by Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson and is made up of business leaders from across the state.

During the all-afternoon meeting, the group received overviews of the dozen tax commissions that came before the current one.

And while giving the highlights, Greg Harkenrider, an economist in Governor Steve Beshear’s administration, told members that one change won’t cure all ills.

“Very few tax reform changes help everything across the board. Very few, especially ones that bring in money,” he says.

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Frankfort Local News

Westwood Re-files Tax Commission Bill ‘As A Statement’ to Beshear

One Republican senator is making his displeasure with Governor Steve Beshear’s tax commission known.

Senator Jack Westwood has filed a bill for the second year in a row setting up a new commission to completely rewrite Kentucky’s tax code.

Westwood says he filed the bill again because he’s unhappy with the make-up of the governor’s commission, which includes few economists and tax professionals.

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Frankfort Local News

Williams Blasts Beshear’s Tax Commission for Lacking Experts

Kentucky Senate President David Williams has several criticisms for Governor Steve Beshear’s recently-appointed tax commission.

Williams proposed creating such a commission during his bid for governor last year. But says Beshear’s commission lacks the guidance and experience to change Kentucky’s tax code. The Senate President says the majority of the commission is made up of Beshear’s friends and political allies.

“That there were some people with qualification on there,” he says. “But the vast majority of the people that were appointed to that committee had no expertise in taxation. They weren’t economists, aren’t tax experts, they aren’t CPAs, they aren’t lawyers and what we need is someone to draw up a tax plan and propose a tax plan.”

 

Williams’s proposed panel would have included economists and it would have been charged with completely rewriting the state’s tax code.

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Frankfort Local News

Beshear Says Tax Commission Isn’t Change of Heart

As the wheels slowly turn on Governor Steve Beshear’s tax commission, observers are wondering what changed the governor’s mind on taxes in the first place.

All last year the governor said he wasn’t in favor of changing the tax code during a recession, while his opponent David Williams constantly advocated for it. But after his re-election, the governor created a new commission to study the issue. Beshear says it wasn’t a change at all.

“Well I haven’t really changed my mind,” he says. “I still feel right now, this year is not a good time to be changing the tax system significantly. So what we’re going to do is start the process this year looking at all of the different options that we have.”

He adds that no reforms will come out this year.

“My opportunity that I see is next year to start putting in place whatever tax reform ideas that we can find consensus on,” Beshear says.

Many lawmakers are interested in tax reform, but no proposals have been fully vetted in the General Assembly yet.  The commission is led by Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson.