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Everyone wants to fix Kentucky’s tax code, but no one quite agrees exactly what that means.

The Governors Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform, led by Kentucky Lt. Gov.  (former Louisville Mayor) Jerry Abramson, will hold a hearing in Louisville tomorrow night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Highland Middle School’s Auditorium, 1700 Norris Place.

(To speak, you have to sign up BEFORE 6 p.m!)

We got multiple releases on this from one end of the political spectrum to the other, and from business groups and non-profits.

From the Center for Non-Profit Excellence:

The nonprofit sector has a number of priorities that align with the five core principles of the Commission: Fairness, Competitiveness, Simplicity & Compliance, Elasticity and Adequacy. Lessening the burden on low-income earners, like the state level Earned Income Tax Credit proposed by Kentucky Youth Advocates, is one such step that would make our Commonwealth both more fair and competitive.

Nonprofits relieve an enormous level of financial burden on state and local governments through the cultural, human services, educational and environmental work we perform. We also leverage governmental grants by bringing donations from individuals, foundations and businesses through integrated programs to improve society.

This is the release sent out to GLI members on June 27, encouraging business owners to use the three-minute slots to weigh in on changes they want to see:

But it is equally important that the commission members hear from business leaders like you! As an employer, you know first-hand how Kentucky’s tax code affects your ability to succeed and grow. We strongly encourage you to consider attending the public meeting and signing up to share your ideas on how we can increase our state’s competitiveness and encourage business investment.

Here are the GLI talking points, which pretty much go right down the political middle:

Revenue generation should not place a disproportionate burden on businesses – as a whole or by size or sector – and must be coupled with spending reforms, including:

  • Developing a sustainable system for state employee benefits, including health and retirement.
  • Reducing the fixed costs of rapidly-expanding budget areas, including Medicaid and corrections.
  • Streamlining government services, including consideration of consolidation and privatization.
  • Aligning and redeploying current state resources to priority investment areas, such as education and economic development.

Kentucky’s tax code should:

  • Encourage investment and business growth;
  • Be attractive to knowledge-economy employers and their employees;
  • Decrease the state’s over-reliance on personal income tax for revenue;
  • Provide a competitive advantage in attracting business and talent;
  • Provide more local revenue options for specific community development projects, which are limited in scope and term, and approved by local referendum;
  • Be simplified for ease of compliance and to reduce the cost of administration;
  • Generate revenue sufficient to meet the state’s necessary obligations and investment needs.
  • Take into account the interplay between state and local taxation.

To which we say, “Amen!”

Earlier this year, Governor Steve Beshear announced the 23-member commission would study the state’s wonky tax code, making recommendations for bringing it into the 21st Century by November 15.

The purpose of the commission is “to develop a set of recommendations to make Kentucky’s tax code more responsive to the ups and downs of the economy, as well as to make taxes more equitable for Kentuckians.”

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2 thoughts on “Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform forum tomorrow night at Highland Middle School

  1. GLI’s recommendations are not “middle of the road.” There the middle of Grover Norquist’s driveway.

    Poor Kentucky families pay up to 8 or 9% of their income in state taxes, while the richest Kentucky families typically pay under 5%. Many rich Kentucky families have Delaware corporations that pass most of their income through as dividends, resulting in even lower tax rates for them. Not many poor people have organized themselves in Delaware. Kentucky’s tax code is regressive, that’s why it needs reform. It’s simply not fair. (Also, notice our state is broke, that’s because poor people are running out of money.)

  2. GLI’s recommendations are not “middle of the road.” There the middle of Grover Norquist’s driveway.

    Poor Kentucky families pay up to 8 or 9% of their income in state taxes, while the richest Kentucky families typically pay under 5%. Many rich Kentucky families have Delaware corporations that pass most of their income through as dividends, resulting in even lower tax rates for them. Not many poor people have organized themselves in Delaware. Kentucky’s tax code is regressive, that’s why it needs reform. It’s simply not fair. (Also, notice our state is broke, that’s because poor people are running out of money.)

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