The Richmond Register

Local News

December 5, 2012

Beshear won’t challenge McConnell in 2014

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear Wednesday ruled out any idea he might challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014 and said the state confronts “two big issues” in pension and tax reform.

But he said he’s not sure how – or really when – the state may be able to come to grips with either of those issues.

Beshear said he “has no intention to run for the senate – or any other office” when asked by a reporter if he’d consider running against McConnell in 2014. Beshear, who lost to McConnell in a 1996 Senate race, is in his second and final term as governor, which ends in 2015.

Beshear’s statement followed another question about whether he thought actress, activist and Kentucky native Ashley Judd would make a good challenger for McConnell.

He said he knows and likes Judd but doesn’t “have any idea if she’ll run and I don’t know if she does at this point.”

Judd’s celebrity and statements that she might consider entering the political arena have drawn attention and stories from media both in Kentucky and Washington. McConnell, the leader of his party in the Senate, is a prime target for Democrats in 2014 but so far no Democrat has stepped forward to challenge him.

Whoever runs against McConnell, Beshear said, will face a tough race and will need to raise a lot of money. McConnell has already banked about $7 million for the race. While Beshear offered no specific names, he said he is confident Democrats will field a credible, viable candidate to face McConnell.

Beshear said pension and tax reform are two big issues confronting the state, but he said he doesn’t at this point know how he or legislative leaders will proceed on either.

His Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform is to meet Thursday and is expected to consider recommendations to alter the state’s income tax code. But Beshear said he didn’t know what the commission is likely to recommend in the end.

“I would think at the end of (Thursday’s) meeting, they would step back and look at everything they’ve tentatively recommended and see if they want to make any adjustments,” Beshear said.

Those tentative recommendations are to raise the cigarette and tobacco product tax to $1; reduce the income-tax exemption for retirement benefits; add a 1-percent utility tax; and push for a constitutional amendment that would allow cities to collect a 1-percent local sales tax.

Beshear conceded passing tax reform will “be tough in this political climate,” and said he didn’t now “whether we can get it done by the end of the (General Assembly) session,” which begins in January. He said if he and lawmakers can agree on a proposal, it might require a special session after the regular session because in a short, non-budget session in odd-numbered years any tax proposal would require a super majority of 60 percent.

He said he has talked generally, “but not in any substantive way,” with legislative leaders about the recommendations of a task force on pension reform.

That group’s key recommendation is that the state start making its full contribution to the retirement system with the 2014-15 budget, an amount in excess of $300 million.

Beshear pointed out the commission “made no recommendation on where that money comes from” and said he is “unwilling to take the money out of education” to use for the pension system.

Beshear said tax and pension reform could be linked because of the need for additional funding for the pension system and also because each recommended taxing at least some portion of retirement benefits.

Currently, the first $40,000 of retirement income is exempt from Kentucky income taxes.

The governor said “at this point” he does not envision opening up the current state budget when the legislature convenes in January.

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.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 2-11 Mangan.jpeg Man indicted in I-75 wreck that killed two

    A man who police believe started the chain of events that led to the deaths of two people on Interstate 75 in February was indicted on several felony charges Wednesday in Madison Circuit Court.
    Bryan M. Mangan, 56, of South Bend, Ind., was indicted on six counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, tampering with physical evidence and operating on a suspended license.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Man charged with reselling employer’s equipment

    A man who worked for a local satellite TV company has been charged with ordering extra equipment and selling it online.
    Charles William Hensley, 39, of Manchester, worked for the Multiband Corporation at its Richmond office, according to a Richmond police report.
    Multiband maintains DIRECTV’s installations, service and upgrades for single-family homes in 20 states and commercial sites nationwide.

    April 24, 2014

  • Saturday is National Drug Take-Back Day

    A nationwide initiative to dispose of prescription drugs in a safe manner will take place Saturday.
    Three Madison County sites are available for residents to get rid of their unused, unneeded or expired prescription drugs as part of the eighth annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day:
    • Richmond Police Department, 1721 Lexington Road, box is outside by the front door.
    • Kentucky State Police Post 7, 699 Eastern Bypass, across from the EKU stadium, box is inside at the front door.

    April 24, 2014

  • 4-25 Revue 1.JPG Retro Radio Revue

    “Stan O’Donnell’s Retro Radio Revue,” presented by Rose Barn Theatre, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Gillum’s Sports Lounge in the Richmond Mall.
    The production focuses on the performers of the show and the follies and chaos that take place as the unexpected ensues. Local musical performers from Madison County will be showcased throughout the production.
    Gillum’s will provide a full menu service and cash bar beginning at 5:30 p.m.
    Tickets for the show are $15 and available at the door or in advance at www.rosebarntheatre.org.
    The event is a fundraiser for the nonprofit arts organization.

    April 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • 4-25 Crit Luallen.jpg Luallen says no to 2015 governor’s race

    After months of deliberation, former state Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen announced Thursday she will sit out the 2015 race for governor.
    The announcement disappointed friends and associates who see Luallen as an able and experienced administrator — she served in six gubernatorial administrations — but also someone with the character and integrity to restore confidence in government.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blue Grass Army Depot sponsors 5K

    The Blue Grass Army Depot is hosting a 5K run/walk Saturday in support of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
    The no-entry-fee event will begin and end at the depot’s new sports complex ball fields, according to a news release from the installation. Preregistration is available online at www.bluegrass.army.mil or starting at 9 a.m. the day of the event.

    April 24, 2014

  • 4-24 UKatWaco1.jpg Wildcats encourage Cardinals to work hard in school

    University of Kentucky student athletes Kastine Evans, a guard on the women’s basketball team, and Jon Hood, a guard on the men’s team, stopped by Waco Elementary School on Wednesday to talk about the benefits of working hard in school.

    April 23, 2014 4 Photos

  • Mayor, commissioner pay changed

    The Richmond City Commission approved 4-1 a new pay scale for the mayor and commissioners at a special-called meeting Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-24 Lorenzo McWilliams.jpg Harrodsburg to get old Richmond police mobile computers

    Richmond is donating to the city of Harrodsburg eight of 39 old computers formerly used in police cruisers.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-24 HOSAblooddrive.jpg Health science students organize blood drive

    Aside from the gift cards and free snacks, 50 Madison County high school students have other reasons for donating 35 pints of blood Wednesday to the Kentucky Blood Center at Madison Central High School.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results