After a nearly year-long review, Kentucky's Commission on Tax Reform has approved recommendations that could generate nearly $700 million a year.
Some $500 million of that would come from individual income taxes. Another $200 million would be generated by expanding the state's sales tax to household utilities and several services that have traditionally been exempt.
A school district in south-central Kentucky has canceled classes for the remainder of the week citing low attendance due to illnesses. Monroe County school Superintendent Lewis Carter told the Glasgow Daily Times that officials made the decision after attendance on Monday dropped to just 81 percent. He says just a week previous to that, the district had 96 percent attendance.
However, the number had dropped to 91 percent within four days.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform is scheduled to meet Thursday to craft recommendations for Gov. Steve Beshear. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. EST in a conference room at the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority's headquarters at 100 Airport Road in Frankfort.
Beshear appointed the panel earlier this year to recommend a simpler tax code that would generate enough revenue to meet state needs even during recessions.
In Thursday's meeting, Beshear said the commission will review Kentucky's individual income tax to see if changes are needed there.
Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has ruled himself out as a potential challenger to Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014. Beshear told reporters Wednesday that he has no interest in running against McConnell, but he said he expects a credible Democratic challenger to step forward.
The named bandied about most in recent weeks has been actress Ashley Judd, a household name in Kentucky because of her success in Hollywood and because of her famous mother and sister, country music stars Naomi and Wynonna Judd.
Ashley Judd hasn't ruled herself out as a potential challenger.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington has denied the government's request to rehear a challenge to a controversial tobacco packaging requirement. Tobacco companies have challenged the requirement that they must post large, graphic health warnings on cigarette packages.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment after the ruling. The government now has a 90 day period to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. In August of this year, a three-judge panel had affirmed a lower court ruling that blocked the Food and Drug Administration requirement.