Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform
[UPDATE: Click on the links in the schedule below for highlights from the recent meetings!]
Kentuckians are worth the investments for good jobs, clean air and water, quality educations, and healthy, vibrant communities. This Kentucky is possible, but we need to reform our state taxes.
This summer is our best opportunity in the last decade to win tax reforms that improve the quality of life in Kentucky. A Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform has been appointed to study and build consensus around tax reforms that meet the guidelines of fairness, competitiveness, simplicity and compliance, elasticity and adequacy. The Commission is holding Public Input Meetings across Kentucky. Everyday Kentuckians share their best ideas about needed state tax reforms – ideas that will shape the Commission's recommendations for the 2013 General Assembly.
Please plan to participate in the meeting near you! As Madison County member Meta Mendel-Reyes says, "If we're not there, who will be?"
Below are three opportunities and some tools to get your voice heard!
Here is a set of talking points with more information about specific policy recommendations that are consistent with KFTC's principles.
Here is a printable version of the framework in the sidebar.
1) Plan to come to a public meeting near you
Click here to sign up to speak.
Click here to let KFTC know that you're coming so we can be sure to coordinate!
Western Kentucky/Paducah: Tuesday, May 29, 6-8 pm
Southern Kentucky/Bowling Green: Tuesday June 19. [Read the highlights here!]
Louisville Area: Tuesday July 10. [Read the highlights here!]
Northern Kentucky: Tuesday July 24. [Read the highlights here!]
Eastern Kentucky: Tuesday Aug 7, 6-8 pm [Read the highlights here]
Big Sandy Community & Technical College, Gearheart Auditorium,1 Bert T Combs Drive, Prestonsburg
Central Kentucky/Lexington: Tuesday Aug 21, 6-8 pm [Read the highlights here]
Bryan Station High School, 201 Eastin Road, Lexington
2) Leave your comments on the Commission's website
Whether you plan on coming to one of the public meetings or not, please do leave your comments on the Commission's website.
3) Write a letter to your local paper before your local meeting
Writing letters to the editor will help create good local conversations before each public meeting. Here's a link with several papers' submission pages.
After a series of public input hearings in summer 2012, the Blue Ribbon Commission met numerous times throughout the fall to consider options for reforming Kentucky's tax code. In mid-December, the commisison delivered a report to Gov. Beshear with 54 recommendations. Some would make Kentucky's tax system more fair, adequate, elastic, competitive and simpler (the goals of the commission) while others would move the state in the opposite direction.
The governor has indicated he would like to call a special legislative session to deal with tax reforms, as well as pension reform. That could happen as early as April 2013.
In the meantime, Rep. Jim Wayne introduced House Bill 142 to begin the discussion about comprehsnsive tax reforms. It includes many of the commission's recommendations, but differs in that it ask corporations to pay their fair share rather than further decreasing corporate taxes, and puts more emphasis on fairness and adequacy.
Download the Blue Ribbon Commission's final report.
JoAnn Schwartz's op-ed: Reform tax code without hurting poor, middle class
Report from November 19 meeting
Memo: Actions with preliminary approval (as of Nov 18)
Memo: Actions under consideration (as of Nov 18)
Memo: Actions not approved (as of Nov 18)
Revised Proposal #71: Local option food and beverage tax
Report from November 8 meeting
Report from October 23 meeting.
Want some help framing up your comments?
We don't want to all say the same thing, but we do want to echo and stand with each other. This framework is one way to do that. Feel free to use it for your comments--online, in person, or in letters to the editor of your local paper.
I. Who you are and what you want to see for Kentucky
I want to see _____.
“I’m another Kentuckian for tax reforms that raise revenue and let everyone pay their fair share toward making Kentucky a great place to live and work."
II. What's in the way
Our current taxes are not fair because low- and middle-income Kentuckians pay about 11% of their income in state and local taxes, while the wealthiest pay about 6%. This isn’t fair.
Our current tax structure is inadequate. [Reference some of the budget cuts that are impacting your community.]
We can be a more competitive state for good jobs by investing in our people and our commonwealth, with good schools, excellent higher education, and a first-class infrastructure.
Good tax reforms must raise revenue, be fair to working families, and allow investment in our future.
III. Good policy solutions
Good solutions would include:
1) closing tax loopholes for corporations,
2) taxing the same luxury services that our surrounding states tax, and
3) making our income tax more progressive, including a state EITC, so that we're all paying our fair share.