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Governor Announces Creation of Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform to Revitalize Kentucky’s Tax Code


On February 9, 2012, by Executive Order 2012-103, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced the creation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform (“Commission”), compromised of twenty-three Kentuckians (17 voting, 6 non-voting) representing a broad spectrum of the public and private sector, to provide recommendations to revitalize Kentucky tax code.

The Commission will be led by Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson and will focus on developing recommendations for revising Kentucky’s current tax code to make it more responsive to the ups and downs of the economy, to make taxes more equitable for Kentuckians, and to continue to make Kentucky’s tax structure more business-friendly. According to a press release, Governor Beshear had this to say about the need for the Commission:

In order to better prepare our state for the future, we must study how we can better align our tax code with the principles of fairness, business competitiveness and a 21st Century economy. An improved tax code will not only create a more welcoming business environment, but will also allow the state to invest in the services and priorities that best position our citizens for success.

Although Kentucky ranks relatively high on a national scale in terms of its business tax climate (ranked 19th by Tax Foundation and 8th by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce), Governor Beshear stated that he believes there is still significant room for improvement, and he hopes the Commission will allow it to continue to move up the ranks and help encourage economic growth. In furtherance of these objectives, Governor Beshear outlined five goals for the Commission: fairness, competiveness, simplicity and compliance, elasticity, and adequacy.

The Commission will be assisted by an outside consultant, as well as advisors from both inside and outside of state government. More specifically, the Commission will include the State Budget Director and Secretaries of the Executive Cabinet, the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Revenue, and representatives from the Finance and Administration and Economic Development Cabinets, the Kentucky Society of CPA’s (“KyCPA”) Taxation Committee, and the Kentucky Bar Association’s (“KBA”) Taxation Section. The Commission will also include legislators from both houses of the Kentucky General Assembly who will serve as non-voting members. In making their recommendations, the Commission may receive testimony from outside experts, interest groups and the general public. The Commission will begin working shortly, and their recommendations are due to the Governor by November 15, 2012.

If you have questions about this topic or any other legal issue, please contact any member of the firm's State and Local Tax Team.


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