Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

October 3, 2012

State Chamber circles its wagons on tax reform


Oct. 3, 2012 —     To no one’s surprise but to our great disappointment, the president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, David Adkisson, says the state’s business community doesn’t want or expect to pay any more taxes as a result of tax reform.

    Adkisson was quoted as saying raising business taxes would be “a knee jerk reaction coming out of this recession which is ill timed and not good for the state.”

    He said flatly that he expects any suggestions resulting from the ongoing study of the state’s tax code will be “revenue neutral”.

    If you’re not familiar with that term, it means that it is OK to adjust taxes here and there as long as no additional revenue is generated.

    That has been the cumulative result of the nine previous tax reform studies over the last 20 years.

    Frankly, we expected more from Mr. Adkisson than for him to recite the “company line” of the Chamber board.

    Here’s why we are disappointed particularly by what the chamber CEO says is his position on behalf of that organization.

    First, this is the same man who served two terms as the progressive mayor of Owensboro and knows firsthand that cities and counties in Kentucky are as desperate for new revenue as is state government.

    Secondly, this is the same man who co-founded Leadership Kentucky because of the state’s crying need for new, dynamic ideas from those with the courage and energy to lead.

    Lastly, this is the same man who was in the forefront of reform in the K-12 schools and in public higher education.

    What Adkisson and his associates fail to recognize, of course, is that all of the budget cutting in Kentucky since 2008 has negatively impacted the state's business environment.

    That high tech workforce we’ve been talking about for years won’t or can’t be created by universities and community/technical colleges forced by repeated budget cuts to limit enrollments or to refrain from providing modern teaching and learning tools.

    Even worse, those public institutions have been forced to raise tuition so often that many Kentuckians already may be priced out of the higher education marketplace.

    Surely those captains of industry on the state chamber board are not pleased that Barron's, a national business magazine, has Kentucky’s fiscal health as 47th in the country.

    Granted, no one is eager to pay more taxes but we believe most of our neighbors are willing to pay their fair share.

    But not the state chamber, apparently.