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Taxing districts, retirement system among short session items

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By Rep. Kim King

The 2013 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly is in full swing; the House of Representatives is considering several high profile topics during this short, 30-day session.
During each session, the Speaker of the House assigns the lowest House Bill numbers to bills addressing our most pressing issues. In this session, HB 1 calls for an audit of Kentucky’s special taxing districts across the state. Kentucky’s Auditor of Public Accounts worked with senators and representatives from both political parties to create an audit and reporting framework that will be posted on-line so Kentucky taxpayers will know where their hard-earned dollars are spent.
I co-sponsored HB 1 and participated in the official press conference and rollout last month.
Dividing Kentucky’s population evenly among 100 House members, also known as redistricting, still must be completed. According to the 2010 census, Kentucky experienced a severe population shift. Population greatly increased in Central Kentucky, while Eastern and Western Kentucky lost population.
Because the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled the 2012 redistricting plan unconstitutional, the House and Senate must finalize a legal plan soon.
Kentucky’s county Clerks need a sound plan so they can make necessary local adjustments.
Following a recent federal gun control debate, several pieces of legislation have been filed by the House Republican Caucus to protect your 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Visit the LRC.KY.gov website (Firearms & Weapons heading), or contact me for specific details.
The Tax Reform Task Force debated Kentucky’s antiquated tax code throughout 2012, but no plan was submitted for consideration during this session. Because this is a short session with many important and time-sensitive decisions to be made, any changes to Kentucky’s tax code will probably be made in a future session.
Our Kentucky Employee Reitrement System (KERS) is in critical danger and must be preserved for the folks we made commitments to. One point everyone agrees on: We must honor the inviolable contract state government promised employees.
To date, Senate Bill 2 has passed out of the senate and waits to be heard in house committee. Currently, SB 2 calls for the actuarially required contribution (ARC) to be
fully funded. This will cost an additional $330 million next year and even more the following year. SB 2 also calls for future hires to be placed in a hybrid investment account. Future public employees will enjoy a 4 percent guaranteed minimum return.
Because cost of living allowances were not part of the inviolable contract, SB 2 calls for these increases to cease until all of Kentucky’s Retirement System accounts are sound and secure.
When I speak with retirees in person, most agree cost of living allowances should be stopped to ensure the stability of their retirement funding. If or if they are resumed, SB 2 mandates they be pre-funded and not paid from the retirement fund.
I know these are painful measures. SB 2 should be heard in committee, and on the House floor soon.
I highly encourage you to participate in the 2013 regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly. If you’d like to attend or schedule your child or grandchild as my page, or request House Gallery passes, please let me know.
You can also watch archived video of committee and session proceedings at LRC.KY.gov.
You can always share your concerns and solutions with me at Kim.King@LRC.KY.gov, 859-734-2173 (home) or 502-564-8100 (office). The Legislative Hot Line is available toll free at 800-372-7181.

Kim King represents Anderson County as part of the 55th District.