MADISON COUNTY —
“We’ve got to have tax modernization, we’ve just got to have it,” Montgomery said about the current state system, which was last reformed in the 1950s. However, Montgomery does not see it as a reason to raise taxes.
“I’m for being fair with taxes,” he said, noting that should be a key component of any change, especially when it affects middle class workers.
Shell also believes the tax system should be changed but any reform should not “bridle our economy through taxing prosperity,” he said.
“I believe taxes should be low, our system should be fair and the marketplace should decide winners and losers, not politicians, not political cronies and not government bureaucrats,” Shell said.
The state employee pension, which provides retirement savings for thousands of workers, is underfunded, and the problem has created a burden on local governments and boards to make up the difference. Shell said that changes must be made.
“Yes, we have made promises that contractually and morally must be upheld, but we need to look at the way we contract new hires,” Shell said.
Shell also said eliminating wasteful government spending will help with the state’s funding problems.
Montgomery said several factors went into creating the pension problems, including high retirement rates, low investment returns and lack of contributions. He also agreed that the pension plan must be looked at if it is to be kept solvent.
Montgomery said he supports several parts of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” such as the changes for pre-existing conditions and allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ insurance until 26.
“I’m all for affordable health insurance for all our citizens,” Montgomery said.
Part of the Affordable Care Act requires states to set up “health exchanges” to provide affordable insurance to residents. If the state does not set up an exchange, the federal government will run it.
Beshear has stated Kentucky is moving forward with setting up its own health exchange.
“One thing I do know is Frankfort is broken and how we know this is that we are one of the few states that is willing to implement Obamacare,” Shell said. “The executive branch of Kentucky has implemented Obamacare without the authority of Kentucky’s legislature.”
Shell also said Obamacare will increase the financial burden on the state by an additional $500 million by expanding the Medicaid system.