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Commission Continues Work to Better Balance Tax Code in Kentucky

August 21, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform has been hearing from Kentuckians concerned about fairness, competitiveness and other factors that should make the state tax code work better for more residents. More testimony is to be heard this evening in Lexington.

Alan Smith, a state resident who testified before the panel in Bowling Green, says his decision to get involved is based on a notion that a tax system should constitute a level playing field for all those who pay into it.

"Our tax code, as it's currently set up, does have more negative impacts on middle incomes and lower incomes than it does on our higher incomes, so there's a basic fairness question there."

Smith says his testimony centered largely on his decision to think about returning to his alma mater, Western Kentucky University, to continue his education. He says the tuition difference, now compared to then, shows how education costs are being shifted from the state to the shoulders of students, making college less affordable for many.

"In '99, tuition was just a little over $1000 a semester, and so last year, when I started looking at going back, I found out that tuition had risen to $4,500 a semester, so we're talking a huge jump there."

Smith says the tax system fails Kentuckians in any number of other ways, by not providing adequate funding for vital services.

"There's a lot of things that need more funding than they're currently getting, and those problems are only going to continue to get worse."

The commission, led by Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson, includes people from both the public and private sectors and is being advised by state finance, economic development, revenue and tax officials. Governor Steve Beshear has said an ideal tax system will allow the state to invest in the services and priorities that best position citizens for success.

You can see a full list of commission meetings at

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY