Last night, the business community celebrated the start of the 2013 Kentucky General Assembly with its 18th Annual Kentucky Chamber Day dinner. The Governor and legislative leaders entertained a sold-out crowd of more than 1200 business leaders from across the state. Each speaker mentioned legislation that held personal interest for him during this legislative session, ranging from education to drug abuse, but one item remained constant throughout the night – pension reform. Lawmakers were adamant that now is the time to reform Kentucky’s ailing public employee pension system. And bipartisanism didn’t end there. Each speaker expressed a renewed willingness to end political banter and work across party lines for the betterment of the Commonwealth.
Chamber President & CEO, Dave Adkisson, introduced the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda – a list of key priorities for the business community during the 2013 session. It should come as no surprise that at the top of that list was fixing the dire financial condition of Kentucky’s public employee pension system. The Chamber has been fighting the pension battle for years, insisting that Kentucky’s economic prosperity is in dangers as bond rating agencies continue to downgrade the Commonwealth’s rating. Adkisson urged legislative leaders to continue to bi-partisan spirit of the pensions task force and implement reforms this legislative session.
Other “to do” items for the Chamber this year include establishing one tax identification number for businesses to file with the state for all permits, tax forms, employment forms, etc. Adkisson also highlighted the need for expanded drug testing in workers’ compensation claims and creating a clear definition of an independent contractor for businesses.
In the area of education, the top long-term goal of the Chamber, Adkisson urged lawmakers to raise the drop-out age from 16-18 while improving career and technical education for students. The Chamber also supports modernizing teacher evaluations and rewarding excellent teachers with pay incentives.
To see a complete list of the Chamber’s legislative priorities, click here to view the 2013 Legislative Agenda.