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Reforming Special Taxing Districts to be Kentucky House's No. 1 Priority

The No. 1 priority for the Kentucky House in 2013 is set: Tackling recommendations from a recent report that found that special taxing districts have big budgets and little oversight.Auditor Adam Edelen recently finished a report on the districts, detailing billions of dollars in spending with little to no oversight in most areas. Special taxing districts include the Metropolitan Sewer District and library boards.House Speaker Greg Stumbo has given the issue his support and made the auditor office's recommendations House Bill 1 in the next legislative session.“Obviously the reporting and the transparency which Auditor Edelen attempts to address are fundamental to fair government and ought to be embraced by the entire General Assembly and I hope that they will be,” Stumbo said.In his report, Edelen recommends creating a central database of all districts, enforcing financial reporting and overhaul more than 1,000 laws that deal with special districts. The designation of being House Bill 1 gives the significance of being the chamber’s chief priority, Stumbo said.Stumbo said he decided to make the special districts the top bill due to lukewarm recommendations from task forces on pensions and the tax code.Edelen said he’s working both legislative chambers to pass his recommendations into law.“So we’ve got a real opportunity to do big things here, to do big reform," he said." And it builds upon the excellent work of the legislature.New Republican Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer is Edelen's partner on getting the same bill proposed in the state Senate.