A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Addia Wuchner: Swift action on vetoes ensure significant tax reform and budget package for KY

In swift and effective action, the Kentucky House and Senate overrode Governor Matt Bevin’s veto on House Bills 200 and 366, which was the state budget and tax reform package respectively.

Rep. Wuchner

To fund pensions and education in record-levels, the General Assembly passed a revenue measure based on comprehensive tax reform to deliberately move in a direction to lower, and one day possibly eliminate, income tax rates while broadening the sales tax base by adding consumption-driven services. The changes made to the tax code, in order to fund the budget, signify the first in decades and will be responsible for more than $450 million over the next two years.

Specifically, personal income tax will be lowered to a flat 5 percent for all Kentuckians, rather than the current tiered brackets that reach as high as 6 percent. The result will place Kentucky 10th lowest in the entire country in terms of income tax rates, and will lower the income tax for 99 percent of Kentucky filers. The same flat 5 percent tax rate will be applied to corporate income tax, which will improve Kentucky’s competitiveness with neighboring states who are already lower than us.

One of the biggest takeaways in this two-year budget is record-level SEEK funding at $4,000 per student, which will go to every school district. The Legislature committed full funding for school Family Resource and Youth Services Centers, which provide food, clothing and other services to help children succeed in school every day. The revenue found from tax reform will also support full funding for retired teacher health insurance contributions, and restored nearly $128 million in funding for school transportation.

In addition to its focus on education, the budget places record funding into state employee pension systems, which will ensure that every state worker will get the pension they were promised when they started their careers in public service. Of the $22 billion dollar state budget, more than $3 billion was dedicated to pensions over the next 2 years. For the first time in Kentucky, public pensions are funded to the levels required to make the systems solvent and to ensure checks continue to reach retirees for generations to come.

The two-year budget, which funds every mechanism of government in Kentucky, will take effect on July 1, 2018.

I am honored to represent you in Frankfort, and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181, or you can contact me via e-mail at addia.wuchner@lrc.ky.gov. As we take a break following the completion of the 2018 Session, don’t forget to track Interim Joint Committee meetings, which begin in early summer, and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.lrc.ky.gov.

State Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, represents House District 66, which includes part of Boone County

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