Tax changes, casino gaming on lawmakers' agenda - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Tax changes, casino gaming on lawmakers' agenda

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Gov. Steve Beshear Gov. Steve Beshear
House Speaker Greg Stumbo House Speaker Greg Stumbo
Senate President Robert Stivers Senate President Robert Stivers

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Gov. Steve Beshear, who has called for budget cuts to most state agencies, spent Monday meeting with lawmakers about creating revenue through tax changes and casino gaming.

Beshear said he would unveil his proposals to change Kentucky's tax code Tuesday, when the legislative session will be one-third complete.

"There's more than enough time," Beshear said. "No one gave us a ghost of a chance of passing pension reform in 2013. We did it in three weeks."

Beshear said he has drawn his proposals from a 2012 report by a "blue-ribbon commission" he created. The commission recommended changes to individual and business taxes, additional taxes on goods such as cigarettes, and even protecting Kentucky's horse industry through a tax break.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonburg, said he saw Beshear's proposal but had been told not to comment on it until Tuesday.

The plan "follows the trend" of the Beshear administration in that it doesn't include radical changes, Stumbo said.

"It's a difficult issue, as we all know," he said. "If the support's there, we can get things done pretty rapidly — if the support's there."

Stumbo said he also was involved in a Monday meeting between Beshear and lawmakers about the chances of casino gaming legislation this year.

Stumbo repeated that he wanted a gaming bill to begin in the Senate, while Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said he thought it should start in the House.

"It's not something I get up in the morning thinking about, so I'm not out asking other people what they think about it," Stivers said, although he acknowledged Senate Republicans will need to meet about gaming because they have varying opinions about it.

Beshear has called for both casino gaming and tax changes in two January speeches.

Stivers said changes to the tax code are necessary.

"This is not a sensational or a sexy issue, but I think, if you understand economic development and the creation of jobs, you have to look at the tax code."

Beshear will reveal his proposal at 11 a.m. Tuesday. It still must pass both houses of the legislature.

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