By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
House and Senate leaders say they are confident that big issues like tax and pension reform and infrastructure investment can be tackled and passed in a budget year in 2020.
In interviews with The Bottom Line, House Majority Leader John “Bam” Carney, R-Campbellsville, and Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, discussed what they feel will be the top priorities in the upcoming regular session of the General Assembly.
Carney said while big issues like pensions, taxes and infrastructure are daunting to many, especially while running for re-election, he believes the votes must be taken to move the state forward.
“If you do the right thing, elections will take care of themselves,” Carney said. “So, we just have to do the right thing by the Kentuckians, make the right policy decisions that benefit them, and continue to grow the state, grow the economy, create jobs, protect families, and we’re going to do that.”
Tax reform will be a priority with the goal of lowering individual income tax rates and expanding the tax base by incorporating the state sales tax onto items that are often taxed in many surrounding states but not currently being taxed in Kentucky.
“I want to continue lowering the rates, moving away from taxing production, to lowering the rates on personal and corporate income taxes and get more towards the taxing of consumption … It’s the right thing to do,” Thayer said.
As Kentucky continues to struggle with funding for roads and bridges and faces a loss of federal funding, infrastructure investment continues to be a big topic of discussion. Legislation has been presented to raise the gas tax as well as raise other taxes and fees in order to generate more revenue for the road fund.
While many of Kentucky’s surrounding states have voted to raise their gas tax and take other similar actions to shore up their infrastructure funding, Thayer said the Senate does not have the votes for a gas tax increase.
Thayer said there needs to be an education campaign across the state to educate voters why there is a need for such an increase as well as a better solution to handle the impact of more fuel-efficient and hybrid cars on the road to ensure all motorists pay their fair share for using Kentucky’s infrastructure.
Watch the interview with Senate Majority Damon Thayer here: