Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


January 10, 2014

RONNIE ELLIS: Dull week? Never in Frankfort



Speaking of bold, Gov. Steve Beshear told lawmakers during his State of the Commonwealth speech Tuesday that after 12 studies over two decades saying Kentucky must reform its tax code, he’s prepared to offer specific proposals to do it. But he hasn’t boldly made much of a public case for it.

But Beshear, who for the first six years of his administration was viewed by some as a “caretaker” governor, seems suddenly to be thinking about Kentucky’s future and his legacy. He defiantly embraced the Affordable Care Act in spite of the law’s unpopularity in Kentucky and now says he will do what is necessary to reinvest in education. If he delivers on health care, tax reform and increased funding for education, we may indeed one day look back on his second term as a bold one.

While they aren’t likely to agree on the specifics, Hoover welcomed Beshear’s call for tax reform. Hoover wants “to begin the discussion” on tax reform. Working with a Democratic governor to enact actual reform would certainly be bold for the House Republican leader in an election year in which he hopes his party wins control of the House.

A year ago I was skeptical about the prospects lawmakers would go along with Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer’s proposal to legalize cultivation of hemp. I was wrong. This week, a House committee heard testimony on the medical uses of marijuana. Again I’m skeptical — but who knows? This is Kentucky after all.

So it didn’t feel like much really happened this week. But maybe it’ll turn out to be the week that was after all.

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.



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