In the News: Ky. Chamber President Dave Adkisson says 2015 session left many important issues behind

In the weeks following the 2015 session, Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson has discussed the impact on the business community of what did and what didn’t pass this year.

Adkisson appeared on cn|2 Pure Politics this week where he was asked about some of the Kentucky Chamber’s top priorities which did not see passage this year, including legislation to allow for public-private partnerships (P3) as an alternative method of procurement, construction, or financing of capital projects and services by state government.

The P3 bill passed overwhelmingly out of the House but was then never heard in the Senate. However, Adkisson noted that the Kentucky Chamber was still working on the bill up until the final moments of the session but the issue was again pushed to the back burner.

“We were disappointed,” Adkisson said (at 3:30 in the video below). “That was a measure that, aside from the northern Kentucky tolls controversy, really didn’t have any opponents. There was no organized group out there shooting bullets at the P3 bill, and yet it failed.”

Hear more about what Adkisson said on the issue and the efforts by the Chamber moving forward:

Adkisson also discussed Chamber-supported measures including advocating for a Smoke-Free Kentucky, local option sales tax (LIFT), education issues, medical review panels and pension reforms.

The major underfunding of Kentucky’s public retirement systems continues to be a major concern of the business community. Adkisson discussed the need for review of the systems to target the source of persistent problems, including the Kentucky Chamber’s call for state Auditor Adam Edelen to do a performance audit of the Kentucky Retirement System.

“The amount of money it would take would be minuscule compared to the big dollars involved with a pension system,” Adkisson said (at 4:00 in the video below.) “And you need to bring in outside folks who know pension systems.”

During the 2015 session, Adkisson penned an open letter to legislators calling for much needed pension reforms while also expressing some concern about a proposal to bond $3.3 billion to shore up the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System without a comprehensive study of the system. The Kentucky Chamber has called for a study of the system before but no such action was taken.

Hear the rest of Adkisson’s interview with cn|2 in the video below:

Adkisson was also a special guest on WDRB’s Point of View segment praising the success of legislation seeking to address the state’s heroin epidemic and shore up the road fund while also expressing disappointment in the pro-business bills that failed to see passage.

“It’s tough to celebrate a few successes when important issues with strong bipartisan support fail in one legislative chamber after being passed in the other,” Adkisson said. “And that’s what happened to bills to authorize public-private partnerships, to allow a public vote on local option sales taxes, to restrict smoking in public places, to enact right to work legislation, to create medical review panels and to direct an independent review of the teachers retirement system.”

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Jacqueline Pitts
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