State economist discusses tax reform principles

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Members of Gov. Steve Beshear's Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform went to class Tuesday to learn about major state taxes, tax terminology, comparative tax rates among the states and principles of tax reform.

Greg Harkenrider, deputy executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Analysis gave definitions of terms such as "progressive," ''regressive" and "proportional" taxation, and what he called the Holy Grail of tax reform, "economic efficiency."

For most economists, Harkenrider said, tax efficiency involves "a low rate and broad base," so that a tax produces revenue but does not discourage growth.

He mentioned that Tennessee has a 9.75 percent sales tax, compared with Kentucky's 6 percent rate, and taxes food. As a result, many Tennesseans are buying their groceries at Meijer, Walmart and Kroger stories in Kentucky.

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