“We want to come up with a smart, thoughtful, more balanced approach,” Bevin said at a news conference. “We need to govern in a different way.”
Bevin also announced that he will veto a budget plan, passed the same week by the legislature, that would set state spending levels. That additional spending was added to the budget after thousands of Kentucky teachers stormed the state capitol earlier this month over proposed cuts to their pension system, the fate of which remains unclear.
The tax overhaul would flatten Kentucky's corporate and personal-income-tax rates, setting both at 5 percent. Currently, Kentucky's corporate tax rate runs between 4 percent and 6 percent, while its income-tax rate ranges from 2 percent to 6 percent.
The bill attempts to make up funding for those cuts by nearly doubling the cigarette tax and imposing sales taxes on 17 additional services, including landscaping, janitorial work, golf courses and pet grooming. Overall, the plan would give an average $7,000 tax cut to the richest 1 percent of Kentuckians, who average more than $1 million of annual income, according to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.
Nonpartisan staff in Kentucky's House of Representatives had said the tax package would generate an additional $239 million in state revenue in 2019 and an extra $248 million in 2020. But on Friday, the state's budget director said these numbers were inaccurate and that the tax package would cost Kentucky $50 million over the next two years.
“This, of course, is a great concern,” wrote John E. Chilton, the budget director.
Kentucky legislator David Osborne (R) has said conservative lawmakers have the votes to override Bevin's veto if they have to, according to the Courier Journal.