Josh Mers

Political party: 
Democrat
Question 1: 

What is your vision for the role of the Kentucky Treasurer? How will our commonwealth be better in four years if you are elected?

Kentucky’s Treasurer should be the chief ambassador for modernizing our economy, updating our tax code, modernizing revenue streams and developing a sound 21st century investment strategy.

Far too often our Commonwealth has failed to stress the importance of the Treasurer’s role. Managing the financial and investment strategy in a fair and independent capacity is vital for Kentucky. Equally vital is the role that the Treasurer holds as a watchdog and advocate for all Kentuckians. A strong independent Treasurer that will not act as a rubber stamp for the Governor is essential.

Over the past 3 years, our Governor has been allowed to write checks that the Commonwealth can’t cash. The Treasurer is the Chief Financial Officer for Kentucky and not the private account of any governor, Democrat or Republican. We’re not wearing team jerseys, but rather advocating for the taxpayer; the people of each of our 120 counties.

I believe in a 2020 Vision for Kentucky’s Treasury. That vision is successful when we generate new sources of revenue, understand the importance of smart budgeting, strengthen our taxpayer safeguards, to include fraud detection and prevention capabilities and improve the overall financial literacy in Kentucky.

Question 2: 

Please highlight previous experience that you feel qualify you for serving in this office.

My life mirrors the regular experience of the vast majority of Kentuckians. I was raised in a working-class home in rural Kentucky and saw firsthand the struggles of a family doing the very best they can. I was fortunate enough to be gifted with a solid public education and through hard work, determination and the burden of student loans was able to attend the University of Kentucky.

As the owner of a small insurance and financial services agency, I understand the daily struggle of doing business in Kentucky’s current economic climate.

I’ve spent the better part of my life advocating for my local community which has prepared me for the role of being a strong, proactive Treasurer, committed to advocating for all Kentuckians.

As the Treasurer of the Human Rights Commission for the past three years, I’ve had the fiduciary experience of monitoring a governmental agency’s use of the tax payer dollar.

My life, professional and advocacy experience have more than prepared me to not only manage and improve the statutorily mandated duties of the Office of Treasurer, but also to be a statewide leader on economic issues such as poverty, food insecurity, revenue and tax reform.

Question 3: 

More than 250 tax expenditures are draining Kentucky's General Fund. Kentucky loses more revenue from these expenditures than we generate for our state budget. As treasurer, what reforms would you support to enhance our state tax system?

According to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, $13 billion are lost every year in the Commonwealth through tax expenditures, i.e. tax breaks, exemptions and exclusions.

This dereliction of duty by some in Frankfort is an affront to not only current Kentucky taxpayers but to generations to follow. As a commonwealth, we must take a comprehensive look at these tax expenditures and determine the tax payer’s return on investment.

The Treasurer should be leading the call for curtailing or eliminating all together those that fail to provide a direct benefit to all Kentuckians.

It is equally important that the office fosters investment that modernizes our economy and improves the quality of life.

Kentuckians deserve a Treasurer that will not only be a good steward, but will advocate for economic reforms. Common sense advocacy that includes fair and equitable tax reform, protecting and fully funding our public pensions, investing in our infrastructure, roads and schools and operating our state government in a transparent, open way.