Politics
5:41 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Western Kentucky Legislators Respond to Beshear's State of the Commonwealth Address

Gov. Steve Beshear's State of the Commonwealth address focused on reinvesting in education and tax reform in addition to praising Kentucky's state health exchange, kynect. Below are responses to that address from both Republican and Democratic legislators who responded to calls.

Rep. Myron Dossett
Credit www.lrc.ky.gov

REPUBLICANS

Rep. Myron Dossett took issue with Beshear's praise of kynect, saying the state health exchange had added many people to Medicaid rolls that the commonwealth is already struggling to pay. He is also concerned with expanding gambling.

Dossett on expanded gambling

Dossett was pleased to hear discussion about tax reform, but he wants a straight sales tax that would eliminate the state income tax.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Rep. Lynn Bechler
Credit www.lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Lynn Bechler said he is looking forward to seeing Beshear's tax modernization plan. He was not pleased with the Blue Ribbon Commisson on Tax Reform's suggestions.

Bechler on the Blue Ribbon Commission Tax Reform

Like Dossett, Bechler is concerned with the increase in Medicaid enrollees. He said the money going to that should have been put into education. Bechler said if Beshear wants education reform he should look into charter schools and vouchers.

Bechler was also disappointed with Beshear's suggestion for all girls to receive a Human Papillomavirus
vaccine. He said the decision to vaccinate should be made by individuals and their families, not by the government.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Rep. Kenny Imes
Credit http://www.lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Kenny Imes said he was not impressed with the substance in Beshear's address, and that he expects more "meat and potatoes" content at the budget address in a few weeks.

Imes on western Kentucky's absence in the address

Imes did mention that the governor did not specifically mention western Kentucky in his address.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Rep. Richard Heath
Credit http://www.lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Richard Heath said while western Kentucky wasn't mentioned in Beshear's address he does believe the development of I-69 is important to the governor. He said an interstate would help bring business to the region.

Heath also had an opinion about Beshear's comments on tax reform, and he did not like what he heard in the governor's address.

Heath on tax reform

------------------------------------------------------------------ 

Sen. Humphries
Credit http://www.lrc.ky.gov

Sen. Stan Humpries said Beshear's address was a positive one, but that the details of what the governor plans to do won't show themselves until coming weeks.

Humphries said he was glad to hear that education was a high priority for the governor.

Humphries on education

DEMOCRATS

Rep. Jim Gooch
Credit http://www.lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Jim Gooch was pleased with Beshear's comments on tax reform and said it is an issued that the legislature needs to tackle.

He also said he was concerned that Beshear did not speak about the commonwealth’s energy policy. Historically, Gooch a champion for the coal industry.

Gooch on energy

------------------------------------------------------------------

Rep. Gerald Watkins
Credit http://www.lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Gerald Watkins said the recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Tax Commission are a good blueprint for tax reform. He was also pleased to hear the governor discuss the statewide smoking ban.

Watkins on statewide smoking ban

Watkins added he thinks expanded gaming is going to be a "harder sell" that he does not expect to pass.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Sen. Jerry Rhoads
Credit http://www.lrc.ky.gov

Sen. Jerry Rhoads said there's a need for tax reform but he doesn't think it can be done this legislative session.

Rhoads on tax reform