Kentucky’s Blue Ribbon Tax Commission has made its recommendations to reform the state’s tax code, which officials say would boost revenues by nearly $690 million.
Gov. Steve Beshear created the group to study and recommend tax reforms. According to a University of Kentucky report commissioned by the state, Kentucky’s “tax revenue failed to keep pace with the economy or declined more than the economy,” over the past decade.
The commission held its final meeting Thursday and considered several corporate, sales and individual tax changes, but it’ll be up to the General Assembly to pass the necessary bills.
Executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence Stu Silberman is one of 16 commission members. He says despite the difficult legislative process ahead, the group feels good about the work they’ve completed.
“We just made those decisions based on what we believed was the right thing to do and hopefully the legislature will take those recommendations seriously,” he says.
Suggestions range from raising the cigarette tax by 40 cents to enacting an earned income tax credit for low income earners.
The commission is expected to present the final recommendations to Beshear by December 15. The governor has not announced how he plans to proceed, but any action will likely happen after the first of the year.
While the commission has made several recommendations that would help relieve some of the state’s financial burden, some question whether significant reforms this next year are likely.
As WFPL previously reported, House Speaker Greg Stumbo has been critical of the commission for not making bolder suggestions, and he said without substantial changes to what’s been proposed in the past, the legislature will likely ignore the commission’s suggestions.