BUDGET UPDATE: Our budget committees have met, recommendations have been submitted, and the detailed work of finding sufficient funds to plug the well documented state budget shortfall is underway. We expect to publicly disclose a formal proposal next week --hopefully. I outlined a number of potential efficiencies in last week’s District Update. Below are a number of additional proposals being reviewed and considered:
· Companies can now spread 1 year of losses over 20 years of their future state income tax payments. We are looking at delaying for 2 years this “off-set” which may generate $28 million this year; $82 million in ’11 and $100 million in ’12.
· Requiring companies to submit sales tax collections sooner than the current deadline. This accelerated sales tax collection should generate $90 million over the biennium.
· Daily room taxes are paid for hotel/lodging stays less than 30 days, but not for those staying 31 days or more. Treating all hotel lodging equitably will generate $6.6 million over the biennium.
· Kentuckians working out of the country have their first $80,000 in income exempt from taxes….but not Kentuckians who l live and work in the state. Providing parity for these workers with their in-state kin will generate $24 million for the biennium. This would NOT apply to those serving in the military.
BUDGET DISCUSSIONS REMAIN FLUID, SO STAY TUNED FOR MORE NEW DETAILS AND ACTIVITY!
At least two House bills are one step closer to becoming law this week after being passed by the Senate. HB 51 now goes to the governor for his signature. It will enhance suicide prevention efforts by requiring public middle and high school to distribute suicide prevention materials to their students every fall and require the state to post suicide prevention information on its web site. Concern for the welfare of Kentucky’s children is the focus of a bill addressing “sexting”—the practice of sending sexual images or imagery through text messages. Under HB 143, teens under age 18 will have to perform community service and pay a $100 fine the first time they are caught sending or possessing nude images through text messages. Supporters said the bill would both protect victims and prevent teens from facing possible felony charges later by making first-time offenders aware of the consequences of their behavior.
HB 95 is one bill whose number does not appear to be a winner. It is a bill I introduced to allow the lottery to advertise and educate the public about where and how lottery proceeds are used. Of all states with lotteries, only we have this prohibition! A simple way to be transparent, build public confidence and maybe increase profits by $7 - $10 million for MORE scholarships….
Stay informed of action on bills and meetings at www.lrc.ky.gov, or call the toll-free Bill Status Line at 866.840.2835. The toll-free Meeting Information Line is 800.633.9650. I encourage you to connect with me directly at 502.564.8100 or at Reginald.Meeks@lrc.ky.gov. As always, I ask you to pray for the safety and success of our President and his family.