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Kentucky Legislators' Wait Almost Over for Governor's Tax Reform Details


Leaders from both the Kentucky House and Senate are scheduled to meet with Gov. Steve Beshear Monday to talk tax reform. 

Lawmakers have been waiting on details of a proposal. Beshear promised weeks ago he would come forward with a legislative proposal to reform taxes.  But, the particulars of how to change the state’s tax structure will likely be revealed in Monday's meeting.  Senate President Robert Stivers admits it’s hard to know how it might be received.

“We do have to assess it," Stivers said. "You know, you asked if it’s going to be a tough political pill to swallow.  Well, I don’t know, but if you don’t sit down and have a discussion you’ll not know whether it’s got a good taste or a bad taste, whether you can swallow it or not."

A number of other states have proposed eliminating state personal income taxes.  House Speaker Greg Stumbo was asked about reducing income taxes and broadening the sales tax. 

“Yeah, you can do it, but is it gonna have a real effect on people’s incomes, probably not, because our state income tax structure is not onerous,” Stumbo said. 

Louisville Representative Jim Wayne has pushed for tax modernization for years.  He wishes there had been more of an effort to discuss possible changes before the session began. 

“I’m discouraged by the fact that a lot of the ground work was not laid over the last year after the blue ribbon commission issued its report in December of 2012.  That was a lost year," Wayne said. " It was a year that a lot of groundwork could have been laid and bridges built with legislators."

Wayne says comprehensive tax reform could work to provide more money for state park improvements, needed social services, and additional teachers. 

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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