By RONNIE ELLIS
Greg Stumbo says there is no “groundswell” among lawmakers to take up tax reform in 2013 and he wants to take care of redistricting during the 30-day session that begins in two weeks.
The Democratic Speaker of the House held forth for reporters Friday, saying he thinks the legislature should identify a “dedicated funding source” with which to make annual contributions to the state pension system and that some “adjustments” need to be made in the so-called pill mill law passed last year.
Lawmakers return to town Jan. 8 but will spend the first four days selecting leadership officers and organizing committee assignments. They will then recess until Feb. 1, leaving them only 26 days in the so-called “short session” in a non-budget year.
But they face an array of complicated and controversial issues: redrawing state legislative maps; whether to act on recommendations of a task force to stabilize the state’s woefully underfunded state pension system; recommendations from a Blue Ribbon Commission on tax reform; a proposal to require increased accountability for special taxing districts; and the ever-present issue of expanded gambling.
They do so with a new leadership team in place in the Republican-controlled Senate and a possible change in key House leadership offices.
The pension task force recommended coming up with an additional $327 million in the next budget cycle to begin fully funding the pension systems — but it recommended no source of funding in an era of budget cuts.
“I expect there will be some legislation which will address it,” Stumbo said when asked about a pension system fix. “I would hope we could find a funding source we can agree on with our counterparts in the Senate.”
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