Governor Beshear appointed a commission to look at the tax code, and recommend changes so the state can provide the services people expect from government. The group met Thursday to discuss income tax reform.
One change the commission seemed to favor was lowering the amount of income exempt from taxes for retired workers from $41,110 to $15,000. That's a difference of $26,110 in taxable income for retired workers. The commission projects this would raise more than $300 million annually for the state.
Some retired folks in attendance feel this would force them to pay more than their share.
"We all have to pay taxes. I understand that, but it seems that is going to be a disproportional amount taken from seniors this time around, and of course this is still preliminary, but I'm really concerned about the way it's headed," said David Mayhew, from Shelbyville.
Mayhew is a retired senior. He says he stayed in Kentucky, because the laws have been friendly to seniors. Now, Mayhew says he's concerned, and wants to help protect his fellow retirees.
"I've been sending e-mails, and also I've been in contact with AARP and doing everything I can," said Mayhew.
Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson chairs the commission. He says Kentuckians expect more services from the state government, and the only way to provide is to raise more money.
"University of Kentucky tuition has gone up 40% in the last 5 years, there's been no funding for mental health at all. We have fewer state police, state troopers on the roads today than we've had in a generation," said Abramson.
This was just one of many proposals the commission considered. The group overwhelmingly support raising the cigarette tax from 60 cents a pack to $1.00 a pack. The commission makes its final recommendations to the Governor later this month.