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Kentucky Governor (Still) Wants to Broaden Sales Tax Base


 Will Kentucky expand its sales tax base in 2014?

The tax system in Kentucky is archaic, according to Governor Steve Beshear (D), and it needs modernizing. The governor would like to “revamp laws governing ‘what’ and ‘how’ we tax.” Among other reforms, he is calling for a broadening of the sales tax base.

This isn’t news. Governor Beshear has been calling for tax reform for years, and he is not alone. Last year, the Kentucky Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform approved more than 50 changes to the current tax code, including broadening the sales tax base. Furthermore, as the governor noted during his 2014 State of the Commonwealth Address, “Kentucky has undergone 12 prior studies of its tax system since 1982,” and the latest findings “mirror the previous 12.”

The governor would like to know “why are we ignoring these experts and economists?”

In the State of the Commonwealth Address, the governor vowed to:

  • Present a tax modernization proposal this session that will move Kentucky’s tax system into the 21st century; and
  • Propose a constitutional amendment to allow local communities to vote on local sales taxes for specific projects.

A Response by The Tax Foundation

The Tax Foundation is a non-profit think tank dedicated to educating taxpayers about smart tax policy. In its response to the governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address, it approves of broadening the sales tax base but called his proposal to implement a local sales tax bad policy. The Tax Foundation also questions the governor’s call for additional tax incentives. It notes there is a need to lower the tax burden in Kentucky, particularly if the sales tax base is to be expanded.

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Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.