POST UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Not even a week into his administration, new Governor Matt Bevin laid out his plans for his first year in front of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Legislative Preview Conference Monday. Bevin says Kentuckians can expect a simple budget proposal from him and pension issues being tackled, stating a 401k style plan is necessary for the state’s systems.
Bevin said many of his priorities are lining up with that of the Kentucky Chamber, noting that there are certain issues the state as a whole must focus on in order to move forward.
Among those critical issues, Bevin said, are education and infrastructure. On education, Bevin said he agrees with the Chamber’s support of performance-based funding for higher education adding that schools should be rewarded for progress.
Bringing up the proposal put forward by the Council on Post-Secondary Education, Bevin said he does not believe it goes far enough but looks forward to working on the issue.
On infrastructure, Bevin brought up his interview with the Kentucky Chamber on the issue of public-private partnerships (P3) and said he is more in favor of making sure things are paid for when we can afford them.
He also brought up the KentuckyWired project, which is regarded as the biggest P3 project in the nation, stating that he has discussed the project with U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and believes there is tremendous potential with the project but there needs to be a closer look at the project.
When approaching these types of issues, Bevin said he will be looking to spend the state’s dollars as if they were his own and ensure the protection of Kentucky’s taxpayers.
Bevin said tackling tax reform will be one of his main priorities, stating that the state’s inventory tax and death tax will be phased out and other changes have to be made in order to make the state more business-friendly.
Echoing his remarks in his inaugural address, the new governor also said he plans to make sure initiatives like tort reform and right to work are also going to be key in his administration.
Bevin asked that the people be patient with him and his administration as they work to implement their new agenda.
He also stated that the state will see some executive orders done in the previous administration will be undone “and done the right way.”
On pensions, Bevin said the plans “have to be” moved to a 401k-style plan immediately. He stated that the effort will take a lot of political capital he will have to spend but said it has to be addressed.
“There is literally no financial way to do anything other than that,” Bevin said on moving to a defined contribution plan, adding that it defined benefit systems are an antiquated approach to retirement.
In terms of the budget, Bevin said people should not expect dramatic proposals from him in this budget but that he plans to bring a simple approach to the state’s two-year budget.