I don't know much about taxes other than I always seem to owe them and that I don't much care for them. A neccessary evil to some extent. The call for tax reform in Kentucky is growing by the day. The experts say Kentucky's tax structure is outdated and needs to be changed. Just the debate leaves me a little skeptical because I figure when the music stops playing somebody is not going to have a chair. From what I have been reading I do believe we need to have better oversight of the tax encentives we give, making sure they are creating jobs and enhancing our State's economy. I think Kentuckians and the General Assembly have nothing to lose by listening. I do agree with Governor Beshear that now is not the time to be raising taxes. If we can pull back on some of the sweet heart deals to help with the revenue shortage then I think most Kentuckians would be willing to go along.
Rural Kentucky is already raw with a bad economy and the expectation that they are going to be paying more for health care & energy. I believe Rural Kentuckians are willing to do their share but most have learned that conversation and debate usually leads to a negative outcome. Many folks in the Golden Triangle view Rural Kentucky as Conservative, obstinant,and not real progressive. Well, there is a reason for this and that is we have always been smart enough to know that when reasonable people come to the table to engage in a serious debate on an issue like taxes-well, we are usallly the ones that come home with our panties around our necks.
I still believe the General Assembly and the Governor need to think outside the box regarding the better use of our tax dollars. I have preached for years the idea that Bill Cox shared with me back in the 80's. Cox proposed consolidating our Education Dollars to leverage our buying power. In short, instead of a 176 school districts buying buses, copy machines, paper ect.. individually, we should purchase items as a State not a school district. By doing this, Kentucky could not only save money but use this as a tool to bring jobs and industry. By signing long-term exclusive contracts with companies we could then use this as a tool to lure companies to Kentucky.
On Wednesday the Martin School of Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky along with Kentucky State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach are hosting a Sympsoium on "An Economic Perspective on Kentucky Tax Structure". This is going to be held in room 171 in the Capital Annex. The sympsoium begins at 8:00 am and will end at 11:45. Kentuckians can watch this live by going to the Kentucky State Treasury website.
Those speaking will include: William Fox, Professor of Economics and Director, Center for Business and Economic Research, University of Tennessee. David Wildasin, Endowed Professor of Public Finance and Professor of Economic, University of Kentucky. Kenneth Troske, Chair and William B. Sturgill Professor of Economics and Director, Center for Business and Economics. Paul Coomes, Professor of Economics and National City Research Fellow, University of Louisville. William Hoyt, Director, Martin School of Public Policy and Administration and Professor of Economics, University of Kentucky.
Maybe it is time for the General Assembly to look at possible changes that could benefit the Commonwealth. I will be listening and if you would like to then:
Listen Live by going to: Kentucky State Treasurer>Fiscal Literacy Initiative>Symposium