Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Update

February 7, 2013

Beshear comes out strong for tax reform: Education needs reliable funding

(Continued)

Feb. 7, 2013 —

Republican reaction was less enthusiastic.

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, was clearly underwhelmed. He called the speech “as predictable as the sun coming up” and said Beshear offered no specific agenda or solutions.

Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, who co-chaired the pension reform task force, said Beshear’s talk of “reinvestment makes me nervous” that the governor wants to “grow government again.”

And Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, was clear: the Republican Senate wants to put the “structure of pension reform” in place this year and deal with funding in next year’s budget session. He said that can be done without “exposing the taxpayer to any more liability.”

House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, said Beshear provided a “good overview of the issues we need to address.”

While Adkins said lawmakers will attempt to deal with those in the 24 remaining days of the session, he said “we’re more than likely looking at a special session on some of those very complex issues.”

Beshear touched on a few other proposals, calling for “tweaks” to legislation passed last year to crack down on prescription pain killer abuse to respond to problems legitimate patients have encountered. But he promised not “to return Kentucky to the prescription playground that it was before.”

He also called for passage of a bill to raise the high school drop-out age, a proposal he’s made in the past two sessions but which has been stymied in the Republican controlled Senate.

Beshear also called for a statewide smoking ban.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

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