Businesses in Kentucky will struggle in moving forward with a pro-growth, job creating agenda unless the state pension issue is resolved. That’s according to Kentucky Chamber President Dave Adkisson.
He told the Paducah Chamber Thursday that the pension problem and tax reform are their top priorities for the 2018 General Assembly.
“It will be a generational issue. This is like buying a house and having a 30 year mortgage. We will be paying on this for a few decades, but if we can get the plan in place and know what our payments will be each year that will be progress.” Adkisson said.
He hopes big issues like these won’t exclude other areas of concern to the state’s business community. He says the opioid crisis, smoke free workplaces and legal liability reform are critical to future success.
“Clearly, our agenda is a full one, and we know that additional issues will emerge as the session progresses,” said Adkisson. “As always, we look forward to the opportunity to represent the interests of Kentucky’s employers as we work together to build a stronger future for our Commonwealth.”
In shoring up budgetary funding, he says chamber members would favor consumption based taxes, like increasing the sales tax on a cigarettes -- but not an increase on income tax.
“If you added a dollar a pack we would still be below the national average. It would discourage teen smoking. It would discourage second hand smoke, which affects all of us and it would produce over $200 million dollars of new revenue for the state.”
The challenge for the 2018 session, Adkisson said “is to of course write a budget, they've got to do that for a two year program and make ends meet, that's going to be tough.”
The Kentucky Chamber represents 68,000 employers across the commonwealth.
The nine issues that the Chamber will place significant emphasis on during the legislative session are:
• Responsible Budget
• Tax Reform
• Essential Workforce Skills
• Improve Workers’ Compensation System
• Enable Smoke-Free Workplaces
• Reform the Criminal Justice System
• Enact Legal Liability Reform
• Invest in 21st Century infrastructure
• Protect Low Cost Energy
Adkisson and other Chamber leaders will be touring the state through December.