Dave Adkisson Head ShotSOMERSET, KY. – Kentucky Chamber President & CEO Dave Adkisson recently launched a 10-city tour around the state to present the Chamber’s “Priorities for Kentucky in 2014.” The tour, which began in Owensboro on Thurs., Dec. 5, outlines what’s to come in the 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly and what issues will be crucial for the Commonwealth’s business community.

Adkisson visited the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber on Dec. 12 and spoke to its members about the Kentucky Chamber’s 2014 priorities.

“As we head into a budget year for the General Assembly, there are a number of issues that could have a significant impact on the health of the business community,” said Adkisson. “Our goal with this tour is to ensure our members are not only educated on those issues, but stay looped in with the Chamber as those issues continue to evolve over the course of the session.”

“Although the budget will command significant attention – and is the centerpiece for much of what happens in any legislative session – the Chamber will also focus on key areas that our members believe offer an opportunity to move Kentucky forward.”

The Chamber’s legislative agenda is a comprehensive approach to creating a competitive business climate and investing in the future of the Commonwealth.

• Kentucky’s adoption of tougher academic standards was an important step toward ensuring that students are prepared to succeed in college and career. The Chamber will continue our strong support for the implementation of the standards in the state’s classrooms.
• The Chamber will support the enactment of a charter school law to give all children access to the highest-quality education possible.
• The agenda also includes support for early childhood education and for protecting school funding.

Public-Private Partnerships
• The Chamber will push for passage of a comprehensive plan to encourage the creation of partnerships between private companies and government to save tax dollars while providing needed projects and services.

Health & Wellness
• The Chamber will continue to support the creation of incentives for workplace-based wellness programs and enactment of a statewide smoke-free law.
• Improving the medical liability climate also is a priority item.

• Supporting the infrastructure of Kentucky’s signature coal industry has long been a priority for the Chamber and that will continue in the 2014 session.
• The Chamber will work to maintain Kentucky’s low cost utility rates by opposing proposals that would change the make-up of Kentucky’s non-partisan Public Service Commission.

Business Competitiveness
Talk about tax reform continues around the Capitol, although most observers are skeptical about whether anything meaningful can be accomplished in a year when all House seats and half of those in the Senate will be on the ballot.

The Kentucky Chamber is on record in supporting comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform to ensure a competitive climate that will promote long-term economic development and job growth. Since taxes have a significant impact on business decisions that lead to such growth, the Chamber believes any reform should adhere to the following principles:

• Support growth and competitiveness.
• Reduce the cost of capital.
• Simplify the tax code.
• Promote fairness.
• Prioritize state spending to ensure investment in future-building areas like education.

Also in the area of improving competitiveness, the Chamber will support giving local governments, with voter approval, the option to temporarily increase the sales tax for targeted economic development projects.

Adkisson noted, “Clearly, our agenda is a full one, and we know that additional issues will emerge as the session progresses. As always, we look forward to the opportunity to represent the interests of Kentucky’s employers as we work together to build a stronger future for our Commonwealth.”

Adkisson and other Chamber leaders will be touring the state through Dec. 18. For a listing of stops on the tour, visit kychamber.com/2014briefings.