5:22am

Thu March 8, 2012
State Capitol

Tax Commission Alternative Proposed

One Republican senator is making his displeasure with Governor Steve Beshear’s tax commission known.
Senator Jack Westwood has filed a bill for the second year in a row setting up a new commission to completely rewrite Kentucky’s tax code.  Westwood says he filed the bill again because he’s unhappy with the make-up of the governor’s commission, which includes few economists and tax professionals

“It would be the statement that I’d be interested in making. Not whether or not everyone who votes for it or against it wouldn’t want to concur with that statement, I don’t want to speak for them, but it’s my statement," Westwood says.

The bill would task the new commission with completely re-writing the state’s tax code. The legislature would then have to vote the recommendations up or down in their entirety. Legislative leaders would set meeting dates for Westwood’s commission and their report would be due by late 2013.

In a statement, Beshear said economists and other professionals will have input into his commission’s work:

"...The Commission will take testimony from experts from many areas, including economists from our state universities, as well as hiring a tax reform consultant to assist the Commission with its work. We felt it was important to have Kentuckians on the Commission who are impacted by all areas of our tax code ,from manufacturers to education advocates, from bankers to health care advocates. We look forward to hearing ideas from the legislative branch," Beshear said.

The Senate passed the bill last year, where it was one of the chamber’s priorities. But the measure died in the House, where leaders there complained about a lack of legislator input.