On February 9, Gov. Steve Beshear announced the names of the 23 members of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform. The commission, announced during Kentucky Chamber Day, includes Chamber Chairman Luther Deaton (Central Bank) and Chairman-elect Jim Booth (Booth Energy). The Commission will work over the next several months, and their recommendations are due to the Governor by Nov. 15, 2012.
Gov. Beshear outlined five goals for the Commission’s work, including:
- Fairness: The tax system should treat people equitably. The Commission will review the tax burden that different taxpayers shoulder, from Kentucky families to Kentucky businesses, from small businesses to big businesses, and within different industry sectors in the state.
- Competitiveness: Any changes to the tax system should ensure that Kentucky continues to attract jobs and investment to the state, while keeping and protecting the jobs and businesses we already have. The Commission will review how Kentucky’s tax environment compares to other states and identify ways to improve business tax competitiveness.
- Simplicity and Compliance: A tax system should be easy to understand and follow. The Commission will make recommendations to ensure compliance with Kentucky’s tax system is simple for individuals and businesses and to ensure efficient administration by the state.
- Elasticity: The tax code should allow state revenue performance to mirror economic performance. While Kentucky’s code has performed relatively well during the recession, revenue growth has not kept pace with changes in the economy.
- Adequacy: The Commonwealth’s tax structure should generate sufficient funds to support critical state services. The Commission is charged with reviewing the adequacy of revenues from the current tax structure and making recommendations for improvement.
Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson delivered a letter to Gov. Beshear and Lt. Gov. Abramson spelling out the Chamber’s position on tax reform. In the letter, Adkisson outlined the Chamber’s tax principles and encouraged the administration to look at the total tax burden of Kentucky companies, including local taxes, as it compares to other states. Tax reform efforts should focus on business competitiveness and job growth, not simply as a way to raise new revenue. New revenue should come from economic growth.
Jerry Abramson, Chairman
Roszalyn Akins, Lexington
Pat Mulloy, Louisville
Jason Bailey, Berea
Dr. Sheila Schuster, Louisville
Jim Booth, Inez
Stu Silberman, Lexington
Junior Bridgeman, Louisville
Dr. Lee Todd, Lexington
Rocky Comito, Shepherdsville
Leslie Weigel, Bowling Green
Luther Deaton, Nicholasville
John Williams, Paducah
Marion Forcht, Corbin
Joe Wright, Harned
Rick Jordan, Walton
Cathy Zion, Louisville
Six non-voting, ex officio members will represent the General Assembly:
House Majority: Rep. Rick Rand, Rep. Jim Wayne
House Minority: Rep. Bill Farmer
Senate Majority: Sen. Bob Leeper, Sen. Paul Hornback
Senate Minority: Sen. Gerald Neal