Beshear to release tax reform proposal today

Possible options include lower individual and corporate tax rates, expanding sales tax

By Kevin Wheatley Published:

After briefing legislative leaders of the plan throughout Monday, Gov. Steve Beshear said he would release his tax modernization proposal at a Capitol press conference today.

Beshear declined to discuss specifics of his plan Monday, but said “no one should be surprised” once it’s unveiled, because the ideas have been “discussed in detail.” Beshear said many of the reform package’s components came from his tax reform commission, led by Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson.

The governor alluded to a few options — lowering individual and corporate income tax rates, expanding the sales tax to include some services and offering incentives to Kentucky-based businesses — during his State of the Commonwealth address in January, which also included his support for a constitutional amendment allowing local-option sales taxes.

Beshear met with House Speaker Greg Stumbo and other Democratic leaders at the Governor’s Mansion Monday afternoon to discuss the tax proposal while another meeting was held later that evening with Senate President Robert Stivers and Republican leaders, Stumbo and Stivers said.

Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, had predicted a steep climb for tax reform, but he said Monday Beshear has time to persuade legislators to take up the proposal. House Democrats will discuss the plan at a caucus meeting Wednesday, Stumbo said.

“He (Beshear) realizes it’s a tough issue, so he’s tried to craft a package that that can have a broad base of support across the spectrum of the various positions that people have here, both in the House and the Senate,” said Stumbo, who had heard Beshear’s initial pitch before taking the House floor.

He, too, was mum on details. When asked how much Beshear’s proposal would generate in tax revenue, Stumbo drew a blank. “I can’t remember. Mind’s getting older,” he said, grinning.

Stivers, R-Manchester, said he would honor the governor’s request to keep details of the tax proposal confidential.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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