Kentucky doesn’t need brutal budget surgery that cuts the heart out of public services. Kentucky has sustained 18 financial cuts since 2008 and the illness has already dangerously malnourished services. There are plenty of revenue solutions to the illness, if legislators really want the patient to survive and thrive.
Extra funding is essential to solve the public pension shortfall. But if the pension system is continued as a defined benefits plan, debt can be retired over decades rather than right away and the “crisis” averted without busting the budget. Public servants have accepted lower wages for the security of a decent retirement. Without it, talent will leave Kentucky for better-run states.
Revenue can be found by pulling back on special-interest loopholes, like business tax incentives without sunset provisions and without oversight to gauge results. Slightly raising income tax rates on the wealthy so they are paying as much as middle and low wage earners plus higher sales taxes on luxury goods and services would also bolster Kentucky’s health. To overcome their resistance to tax reform, legislators need the will and the courage to invest in citizens. Don’t cut budget essentials. Fund the future of Kentucky.