PRESTONSBURG — Changes to the state’s tax code are likely to be incremental, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson said, following tax reform hearings at Big Sandy Community and Technical College.
There were many in attendance to offer their thoughts, and listen to the ideas of others, Tuesday, during a public hearing to address potential revisions to the Kentucky system of taxation.
Abramson said after the hearing that, while he would like to see that tax code revisions be transformative, he admits it will likely be a continuing process.
“My head says we’re going to do this incrementally,” Abramson said. “There will be some cuts and additions.”
Abramson says one suggested method of improving the tax code is to tax corporations based on gross receipts rather than on profits. However, Abramson says, while many industries support the idea, retail corporations do not because while they have high gross receipts, they also have a slim margin of profit. Abramson hopes if nothing else that the tax code revisions will be able to whittle down the massive 161-page tome of tax code exemptions.
In February, Gov. Steve Beshear announced that 23 Kentuckians, representing a broad spectrum of public and private sector experience and all corners of the state, would serve on the new Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform.
Since then, groups of civic and business leaders, headed by Abramson, have been traveling the state hearing the questions and concerns from the communities with regard to possible revisions to the Kentucky Tax code.
On Tuesday, several speakers from around the region offered their thoughts. Bud Warman, CEO of Highlands Regional Medical Center spoke to the panel about hospital provider tax, hoping that the panel would recommend that a freeze remain in affect for the tax. Warman said that the hospitals already bare the brunt of the tax, and receive very little benefit.
Also the panel heard comments from Morris Hylton regarding the stacked taxes placed on the manufactured home industry in Kentucky. Hylton told panelists that Kentucky companies can not compete with neighboring states the way the current sales taxes are applied to manufactured homes.
The panel recommended further inquiry into the comments made by Hylton and Warman.