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I've got a great idea for a New Year's Resolution: Get healthy and increase household income by eliminating state taxes on "necessities" and taxing "non-necessities" instead.
In 2007, my husband and I moved from Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minn., a to the Lebanon-area of Marion County. I love it here. But I think I know why Kentucky is so poor and so unhealthy: "regressive" and excessive tax policies on the necessities of life, and little to none on the "non-necessities".
I believe Kentucky citizens and their elected officials - from county to state government officials have settled for the status quo for too long ... and now more than ever we need to change the way we live. I believe it is hard for Kentucky residents to get ahead in life because they are paying high taxes on life's "necessities": clothing, extra city and county taxes income taxes; and high property/property insurance taxes. And worst of all is the "property tax" on cars and trucks. Yet on the "non-necessities of life," Kentucky residents get a freebie: Retail sales of liquor - no sales tax; virtually no sales tax on cigarettes; and no sales tax on soft drinks. Because liquor, soft-drinks and cigarettes contribute serious health problems, then let's make Kentucky tax reform our collective New Year's resolution. It would be a great way for Kentucky to lose weight, increase household income and Kentucky state income. Then we can all live better! We can provide quality education for our children in public school system and lower college tuition for higher education, attract more business investment and create quality, higher-paying jobs. Last but not least, Kentucky needs to reform the "food stamp/EBT Card" program. Why not make it work more like WIC? Food Stamp EBT cards should only pay for healthy foods: Like fruits, veggies, meat, fish, cheese, milk, cereal, etc. Chips and candy and soft-drinks should be prohibited. I continue to wonder why policy-makers are not making these obvious tax reforms. I would suggest they look beyond Tennessee and take a look at how Minnesota's tax policies work. Elizabeth Wallen Raywick