Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson presides at last night's tax reform forum.

(Editor’s note: Earlier this year, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced the 23-member commission would study the state’s tax code, making recommendations for bringing it into the 21st Century by November 15. This was first posted on Louisville Courant, and is reposted here with permission of the author.)

By Curtis Morrison

Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform recap from last night, July 10, at Highland Middle School:

Back when the process started Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said the purpose of his Blue Ribbon Tax Commission was “to better prepare our state for the future, we must study how we can better align our tax code with the principles of fairness, business competitiveness and a 21st Century economy.”

Mayor Greg Fischer identified himself at Tuesday night’s hearing of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Tax Commission as “Businessman Mayor of Louisville.”

Mayor Fischer is asking the state to start rebating some sales tax collected from Louisville. They’ll get right on that, I’m sure.

Fischer’s second proposal is to have the state allow Louisville to charge a higher sales tax. While sales taxes punish the poor, if the revenue was dedicated to something that benefited the poor that would have a net positive effect, like modern mass transit, my arm could be twisted to agree with this idea.

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth’s Mary Love brought it. She really nailed in on what reform is supposed to be about, fairness. The lower income bracket of Kentucky’s workers should not be paying higher tax rates than higher income bracket workers. Fairness means fair. She even hit on how the coal industry shouldn’t be subsidized.

Here’s Love’s presentation:

And Linda Stettenbenz’s:

Greater Louisville, Inc., on the other hand, is likely oblivious to how regressive and oppressive Kentucky’s tax code is to poor Kentucky families. Their advocacy for fairness is only as it relates to their member corporations: AT&T, General Electric, Humana, Ford, etc.

Also, oblivious to problems with our tax code, Metro Council Candidate Marilyn Parker advocated for Wisconsin’s ‘right-to-work’ law, tort reform, and talks about the “illegal immigration problem.”

I appreciate Marilyn putting herself out there, but tax reform isn’t really related to those issues.

And to drive home that last point, here’s UAW 862 representative Kirk Gillenwaters talking, not about fighting right to work, but he’s talking about tax reform.

Because it’s a hearing on tax reform:

Louisville Jefferson County PVA Tony Lindauer spoke before the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Tax Commission because he believes the PVA needs to be better funded.

Funfact: Tony went to school at Highland Middle, where the hearing was hosted. He was in the play “Oliver.” So was I, but Tony actually got the role of Oliver. Neat.

Didn’t get a chance to make it to one of the public hearings? Submit your input online here.

About Curtis Morrison: Curtis Morrison is a journalist who blogs at Louisville Courant. Morrison is a political activist, active in historic-preservation efforts. He is a board member of Neighborhoods Planning and Preservation.