Questionnaire: Matt Bevin
What opportunities do you see to further strengthen Kentucky’s position in the global automotive industry?
My running mate and I have both worked in manufacturing – I own a manufacturing company and Jenean worked as a crew supervisor on the production floor at General Motors and worked her way up to a plant manager. We understand the struggles faced by our manufacturing industry from every level.
Our state is extremely well-positioned to be a hub for manufacturing with our low utility costs, DHL and UPS facilities, abundance of natural resources and our connectivity to other states via road and waterways. But, we need real reform – especially tax reform – to make Kentucky more manufacturing-friendly and to attract new companies and new talent.
We also need to fight back against federal regulations that have killed thousands of jobs in KY. As Governor, I will challenge government overreach into our state by federal agencies and I will not enforce onerous federal regulations that are economically detrimental to our state and harmful to our citizens. The Obama Administration’s one-size-fits-all regulatory issuance that does not take into account scale of risk is especially burdensome to small business manufacturers who help drive our economy.
I support passing Right-to-Work legislation. Right to Work legislation would help make Kentucky a more attractive place for new businesses. Not passing such legislation, puts us at a disadvantage to bordering states such as Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and other states in our region with whom we compete for jobs. Kentucky is the only southern state that has not enacted right to work legislation and we can no longer afford the opportunity cost of being an outlier.
Lastly, we need to increase career and technical education (CTE) opportunities for students and working adults. Through CTE, we can develop a highly-skilled, highly-qualified workforce which will attract more businesses to move to Kentucky, including in the automotive industry.
How will your administration utilize and support economic associations such as KAIA?
KAIA is a valuable resource to understanding challenges faced by the automobile manufacturing industry, as well as in finding solutions to problems and concerns. I will work with KAIA to strengthen the automobile manufacturing industry, and KAIA will always have a seat at the table in my Administration.
What are 3 ways your administration will seek to enhance workforce development in Kentucky, particularly in regard to advanced manufacturing?
There is a strong correlation between education, a highly skilled workforce, and economic stability within a state. More highly skilled workers means we attract higher value jobs, in turn, decreasing unemployment and increasing wealth creation. Expanding career and technical education (CTE) opportunities prepares more students for successful careers and grows better paying jobs in numerous fields.
As Governor, I will incentivize and support an education system that results in a highly employable workforce. This includes integrating more CTE courses into secondary education and increasing well-structured vocational training programs to develop workers with the technical and life skills necessary to contribute to and thrive in a strong economy.
Under our Administration, Kentucky will adopt policies that allow education and training to be guided by the labor market, with the flexibility for schools to work with local businesses to help students develop real-world skills. Our Administration would seek to give more control to local communities, school boards, educators, and parents over curricula so they can align education with the skills employers need on both a local and global level.
Our Administration will also make a deliberate effort to partner our technical schools and training centers with private manufacturers for resource sharing and training purposes. We will be committed to developing these types of mutually beneficial relationships to ensure a highly-skilled workforce and to make the transition from postsecondary education to employment as smooth as possible for both students and employers.
What is your plan to keep energy costs low and reliable in Kentucky?
I would begin aiding our coal industry by not enforcing onerous federal regulations that are economically detrimental to our state and harmful to our citizens. This includes EPA regulations destroying our coal industry.
A Bevin-Hampton Administration would also work to reform our judicial review process that holds up coal production and nuclear power plants in frivolous lawsuits and bureaucratic red tape.
Growing other areas of Kentucky’s energy sector should also be incentivized. Our state is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. We can lower the cost of energy, decrease our dependence on foreign oil, and create badly needed jobs by exploring and developing these resources.
What changes, if any, will your administration recommend for Kentucky’s tax code regarding businesses?
Kentucky desperately needs comprehensive tax reform. Both personal income tax and corporate income tax rates must be gradually decreased. This will leave a higher percentage of earnings in the hands of job creators and Kentucky families and will make us more competitive with surrounding states.
I believe we should begin immediately to phase out the inventory tax in Kentucky. And, we need move from taxing production to taxing consumption.
We must reduce the complexity of our existing tax code. Our new tax code must be simpler, easier to understand and easier to comply with.