Friday, April 15, 2016

Tax break vetoes first step to reform

Gov. Matt Bevin has a chance to lead the state in a better direction and he's showing interest in actually doing so. While I do not believe cuts to higher education were necessary or wise (especially considering past cuts, and that our universities serve as economic engines for the Commonwealth, and that those cuts were juxtaposed against simply banking $250 million for some future unspecified problem in the face of current students' needs) the governor deserves credit for his action to secure our pensions and tackle tax reform. It is the need for tax reform that underlies the rest of the state's problems.

This from the Herald-Leader:
Bevin right to veto tax exemptions passed by legislators, hold out for tax reform

Kentucky now exempts more taxes than it collects, has antiquated tax system

Stopping exemptions will add urgency to reform efforts

Gov. Matt Bevin did the right thing by vetoing tax exemptions passed by the General Assembly this session.
Gov. Matt Bevin

To paraphrase his veto messages, we just can’t go on this way.

Some tax exemptions are worthy and appropriate but we are way past that point. Kentucky now exempts more in taxes than it collects. This exemption bonanza, combined with an outdated tax code that does not adequately capture revenue from growth in a modern economy, has landed us in deep trouble. Chronic revenue woes have shortchanged education at all levels, infrastructure investment and a host of other legitimate and essential state government services.

Everyone knows this — a report is published each biennium enumerating the exemptions — but, pushed by lobbyists and special interest groups, exemptions just keep coming, and many never end.
The answer, as Bevin said in his veto messages, is comprehensive tax reform, a thorough review of our tax structure that considers exemptions as carefully as spending, creating a code that’s modern, broad-based and fair.

The need for a tax overhaul also is not news, as our pages and a host of tax reform plans can attest. But Bevin has added an important note of urgency by cutting off the exemption spigot. Good for him. The legislature should let the vetoes stand.

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This from WEKU:
CPE Head Assessing State Budget Agreement Impact

The head of Kentucky’s Council on Post-secondary Education says the compromise state budget will have an effect on every college and university campus in the state. Leaders from the House and Senate reached a compromise agreement early Thursday morning.
CPE President Bob King

CPE President Bob King says the 4.5 percent funding reduction to higher ed over the next two years is better than having no budget at all. “It’s gonna affect class size, it’s gonna affect the availability of certain courses and programs," King said. "But I’m confident that the presidents and their staffs will do the very best they can to minimize the impact on our students."

King says he respectfully understands the concerns expressed by Governor Bevin about solving pension issues. But, he hopes to see future state budgets include more money for higher education.

The agreed to $21 billion spending plan sets aside $25 million for a free community college tuition program for Kentucky high school graduates who maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. It also includes a performance-based funding structure for Kentucky’s colleges and universities.

1 comment:

Bringyoursaddlehome said...

As we begin to discuss tuition increases, program cuts and faculty reductions on KY campuses, can anyone please remind me what the logical reason is that we continue to increase expenditures on athletic staffs and athletic facilities for generally mediocre teams that don't support the larger athletic department?

I am sorry, but it almost seems discriminatory that we provide so many athletes scholarships (and soon living expense allowances) in order to sustain an athletic program that can not support itself nor accounts for any graduates (french, history or otherwise). If a kid is poor, scholarship options are being whittled down as tuition goes up. Conversely if he or she can kick, throw or dribble a ball and can attain a minimal act score - free ride city. Wonder how many student athletes on scholarship are graduating with STEM degrees.

No wonder our governor has not problems with cutting university president's budgets.