Pensions, budget issues and more left on the table ahead of 2016 session, legislative leaders say at Northern Ky. Chamber event

Leaders from each party and each legislative chamber visited northern Kentucky Thursday to address guests of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to discuss how the divided government has worked together in recent years and what is left on the table as we enter a budget session in 2016.

Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, who was filling in for House Speaker Greg Stumbo, discussed the bipartisan work seen during the 2015 session on issues like road fund stabilization and others including a topic important to the northern Kentucky region, a bill to combat heroin abuse in the state.

Adkins also discussed the unfinished business he would like to see addressed during the 2016 session (at 1:30 in the video below) including legislation supported by the Kentucky Chamber like local option sales tax (LIFT) and public-private partnerships (P3).

Closing his remarks, Adkins encouraged the crowd to come and express their ideas and concerns with legislators.

“We need your advice, we need your counsel. We need your ideas on how to grow small business,” Adkins said (at 4:00). “Job growth comes from the private sector, but how can we help? What can we do to make sure we have the kind of environment to grow the economy in the future.”

Hear some of Adkins’ remarks in the video below:

Stivers began his remarks with jokes about the politics of Frankfort before saying that while the two parties have differences, they have been able to come together on many issues and his legislative chamber plans to continue that working relationship.

In terms of the 2015 session, Stivers echoed Adkins remarks about the positive legislation that came out of the short session including an anti-heroin bill, oil and gas regulations and more.

“They don’t ask kids and people on drugs what party they are a part of. We are going to find solutions,” Stivers said.

For the upcoming session, Stivers said his caucus plans to tackle issues like tort reform and even tax reform stating that the state needs more tax revenues but explained that he believes that is achieved through creating a better climate for people to join the tax base, not by raising taxes.

Stivers also said that the budget session will have two big issues, figuring out how to pay for the Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act which the state will begin paying a portion of beginning in 2017 and the underfunding of the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System.

“We know there is a problem. Do we know the depth of the problem? Not really. There’s been a certain secrecy over there and we are going to have to pull back the curtain,” Stivers said (at 4:00).

Hear more of Stivers’ remarks in the video below:

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Jacqueline Pitts
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