Monday, April 9, 2018

Last Call For Not Awful Enough

Here in Kentucky, GOP Gov. Matt Bevin says he will now veto the Republican budget and tax reform bills in their entirety because they basically aren't cruel enough to Kentucky taxpayers and state employees.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said Monday he will veto the legislature’s proposed two-year state budget and a tax bill that generates hundreds of millions of dollars to help fund it.

“The whole thing is not as thoughtful or as comprehensive as it needs to be,” Bevin said of the tax plan during an almost 30 minute harangue about fiscal responsibility. “If we’re going to do tax reform — and we need to do tax reform — it needs to be comprehensive.”

The bill, which was introduced and passed on April 2 before it was available to the public, applies Kentucky’s 6 percent sales tax to 17 services, increases the cigarette tax by 50 cents per pack, and cuts the individual and corporate income tax to a flat 5 percent tax. It also cuts some typical tax deductions, including those for medical expenses, medical insurance, paid taxes and investment income.

Bevin received a letter last week from his state budget director, John Chilton, indicating that the money generated by the legislature’s revenue bill will be around $50 million lower than anticipated.

“There are many legislators who literally just don’t understand this. They don’t,” Bevin said. “They’re smart people, they’re intelligent people, they’re educated people on many fronts. They don’t understand finance, they don’t understand pensions. And yet they’re the ones who are going to have to make decisions.”

Much of the $486.9 million in revenue generated from the tax bill will be used to fund education as teachers across the state have held “sick-outs” and rallies that have closed down school districts. Bevin, who proposed a plan that would have cut state funding for school transportation and would have provided less money per-pupil than what the legislature passed, said he wasn’t concerned about how his vetoes would affect education.

It’s illegal for them to strike in this state,” Bevin said. “I would not advise that, I wouldn’t, I think that would be a mistake. The issue is not the teachers, the teachers want to teach their children. The KEA (Kentucky Education Association) has been a problem, it really has. They’ve been very loud after refusing to be a part of the solution, even though in reality their members are going to the beneficiary of us getting it right.”

"These K-12 education cuts aren't deep enough, and don't punish students and teachers enough, so I'm going to veto the whole thing!" is a hell of a position to take, but that's life in Bevinstan for you.

Republicans in the state legislature will have the opportunity to try to override Bevin's veto this weekend, so we'll see what happens in a few days, but I'm not sure if they have time to come up with another bill or not.  Remember Kentucky is a state with line-item veto and Bevin trashed the whole thing.

Remember too that Bevin vetoed the pension measure that would have allowed city and local governments to phase in pension costs, and that's only going to make the austerity bomb all the worse.

Ball's back in the KY Legislature's court now.

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