Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he doesn't expect a tax reform package to be brought up for a vote in the current legislative session.
Stumbo told reporters Tuesday that such a package doesn't have the 60 votes necessary to pass in the House.
A special commission appointed by the governor proposed reforms that could generate about $690 million a year in additional revenue.
Stumbo said one of the proposals made by the commission could surface in days ahead as a method of shoring up Kentucky's weakening pension system for government retirees. That proposal calls for raising the cigarette tax from 60 cents to $1 a pack, which could generate $100 million for the pension system.
Legislation to bar state General Fund debt from exceeding 6% has been approved by the full Senate. Republican Senator Joe Bowen of Owensboro has been pushing the measure since last year when a similar measure passed the Senate but died in the House.
Bowen said Kentucky now has $6.3 billion in debt and that, he says, translates to $14,589 in debt for every man, woman and child in Kentucky.
Bowen said lawmakers need to do the right thing by putting a limit on the legislature's credit card. The bill now goes to the House where it faces a shaky future.
Despite the end of the economic recession and a growth in state revenue, Kentucky’s budget will remain tight. Former Budget Director, now Cabinet Secretary Mary Lassiter will address a joint House and Senate budget committee Tuesday.
She is expected to say state programs and agencies should not expect cuts in recent years to be restored in the next State budget. Lassiter tells the Courier-Journal, “There’s no money for anything.”
Lassiter says any new revenue in the state budget passed in 2014 budget will be consumed by additional spending required for pensions, Medicaid, and replacing one-time funds being spent on recurring needs in the current budget. She declined to say if the tight long-term revenue outlook will also be the theme of the State of the Commonwealth address Gov. Steve Beshear is to deliver Wednesday night.
A recently-released poll shows that a majority of Kentuckians support expanded gambling.
In the Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll, 60 percent of those polled said they support expansion. For the first time, a majority Eastern Kentucky resident support gambling.
The support is for a so-called clean gambling bill, which would not include any protections for horse racing tracks.
That's the approach Governor Steve Beshear is planning for his next gambling push. But opponents of gambling say any potential bill will fail because supporters can’t choose a single strategy. Also, only one track, Churchill Downs, has endorsed Beshear's plan.