Monday, January 23, 2012

State now bearing cost of poor tax policy

This from the Herald-Leader:
With interest rates at historic lows, this is an opportune time for universities to tackle a backlog of maintenance and building needs.

Except Kentucky cannot afford to issue bonds to protect taxpayers' investments in the state's campuses. Kentucky cannot afford to take advantage of any opportunities and is barely carrying out some of its basic obligations to protect the public.

Gov. Steve Beshear described the budget that he proposed last week as "inadequate," which is an understatement. Instead of investing for the future, Kentucky will be making more cuts.

As the economy picks up, it hurts to think about how much better positioned the state would be to capitalize on the upturn if a succession of governors and legislatures had not ducked tax reform.

Twenty years ago, the late Gov. Wallace Wilkinson called for broadening the tax base by taxing services. Numerous studies have highlighted exemptions and loopholes that should be closed. It still hasn't happened.

At the beginning of his second and last term, Beshear is launching a tax reform effort that could have proposals ready for a special legislative session late this year.

If this budget doesn't sell Kentuckians on tax reform, nothing will...

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