Government Relations News

Kentucky Bank Franchise Tax HB 354

Notes from Ballard Cassady

HB 354, the general tax package, was voted out of the House yesterday without any language addressing our bank tax imbalance.   The magnitude of the bank tax issue was underscored by the number of calls that began pouring into the KBA office on Thursday from bankers whose legislators were pointing out that the language wasn’t in the bill. Within an hour of passage yesterday evening my cell phone lit up like a candle with calls from bankers, which speaks to the unprecedented level of scrutiny our members are giving this issue.
Despite this, we have good reason to expect that the language necessary to address our problem will be enacted by the Session’s conclusion.    Fully 90 of 100 House members (actually I quit counting at 88 but they were still coming in) and over 30 of 38 senators have committed to you that he or she understands the seriousness of this issue and is ready to vote yes on the language needed to resolve it fairly.   Now, that resolution needs only the leadership of each chamber to assure the opportunity for those votes, on which we have received repeated reassurances.   These are not casual commitments made in hallways.   They were made in the midst of lengthy face-to-face meetings between legislators, bankers, and KBA representatives, in which this complex issue and its serious consequences for Kentucky’s future were fully addressed. 
We have only had three or four of the 138 legislators say they haven’t been contacted by their bankers or the KBA on the issue, so if you haven’t talked to your local legislator then do it IMMEDIATELY please.
Our task, between now and the end of the Session, is to take every opportunity to remind legislators that this industry is counting on them to simply keep their word.  We can’t afford to back up an inch, because Kentucky can’t afford the consequences of failing to address this problem without delay. Failing to address the loss of tax dollars just exacerbates the need for tax dollars needed to fix Kentucky’s many fiscal issues.