Politics & Government

Kentucky tax reform commission to pay consultants $59,860

Gov. Steve Beshear's new tax reform commission has hired as a consultant — the same man who wrote a comprehensive tax reform report for Kentucky 10 years ago.

William Fox of the University of Tennessee warned a decade ago that Kentucky's tax structure lacked flexibility to capture revenue from a changing economy, and predicted the state's current economic woes. The "Fox Report" as it is still called, recommended broadening the sales tax base to expanding services such as auto repair or tax preparation.

Beshear's news release on Wednesday announcing the hiring of Fox did not mention Fox's previous work for the state.

The commission also has hired William Hoyt, director of the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky, and Michael Childress of the Center for Business and Economic Research at UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics.

"These consultants bring a wealth of expertise to the commission's goal of improving our tax code with the principles of fairness, business competitiveness and a 21st Century economy," Beshear said. "Dr. Hoyt and Mr. Childress have remarkable track records in this area, and Dr. Fox is another premiere expert with a broad range of knowledge on this subject."

The consultants will be paid $59,860, according to the governor's office.

Chaired by Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform began its work earlier this year. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m., in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex in Frankfort.

The consultant team will deliver a report to the commission by Aug. 31 and will assist the commission in drafting its report to the Governor by Nov. 15, Abramson said.