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State Budget, Taxes, and Other 2022 General Assembly Topics

Renee Shaw and guests discuss the state budget, taxes, and other 2022 legislative issues. Guests: Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill), chair of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee; Sen. Reggie Thomas (D-Lexington), Senate Minority Caucus Chair; Rep. Buddy Wheatley (D-Covington); and Rep. Jason Petrie (R-Elkton), chair of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee.
Season 29 Episode 10 Length 57:42 Premiere: 03/14/22

About

Kentucky Tonight

KET’s Kentucky Tonight, hosted by Renee Shaw, brings together an expert panel for in-depth analysis of major issues facing the Commonwealth.

This weekly program features comprehensive discussions with lawmakers, stakeholders and policy leaders that are moderated by award-winning journalist Renee Shaw.

For nearly three decades, Kentucky Tonight has been a source for complete and balanced coverage of the most urgent and important public affairs developments in the state of Kentucky.

Often aired live, viewers are encouraged to participate by submitting questions in real-time via email, Twitter or KET’s online form. Viewers with questions and comments may send an email to kytonight@ket.org or use the contact form. All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 800-494-7605.

After the broadcast, Kentucky Tonight programs are available on KET.org and via podcast (iTunes or Android). Files are normally accessible within 24 hours after the television broadcast.

Kentucky Tonight was awarded a 1997 regional Emmy by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The series was also honored with a 1995 regional Emmy nomination.

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Renee Shaw is the Director of Public Affairs and Moderator at KET, currently serving as host of KET’s weeknight public affairs program Kentucky Edition, the signature public policy discussion series Kentucky Tonight, the weekly interview series Connections, Election coverage and KET Forums.

Since 2001, Renee has been the producing force behind KET’s legislative coverage that has been recognized by the Kentucky Associated Press and the National Educational Telecommunications Association. Under her leadership, KET has expanded its portfolio of public affairs content to include a daily news and information program, Kentucky Supreme Court coverage, townhall-style forums, and multi-platform program initiatives around issues such as opioid addiction and youth mental health.  

Renee has also earned top awards from the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), with three regional Emmy awards. In 2023, she was inducted into the Silver Circle of the NATAS, one of the industry’s highest honors recognizing television professionals with distinguished service in broadcast journalism for 25 years or more.  

Already an inductee into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame (2017), Renee expands her hall of fame status with induction into Western Kentucky University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni in November of 2023.  

In February of 2023, Renee graced the front cover of Kentucky Living magazine with a centerfold story on her 25 years of service at KET and even longer commitment to public media journalism. 

In addition to honors from various educational, civic, and community organizations, Renee has earned top honors from the Associated Press and has twice been recognized by Mental Health America for her years-long dedication to examining issues of mental health and opioid addiction.  

In 2022, she was honored with Women Leading Kentucky’s Governor Martha Layne Collins Leadership Award recognizing her trailblazing path and inspiring dedication to elevating important issues across Kentucky.   

In 2018, she co-produced and moderated a 6-part series on youth mental health that was awarded first place in educational content by NETA, the National Educational Telecommunications Association. 

She has been honored by the AKA Beta Gamma Omega Chapter with a Coretta Scott King Spirit of Ivy Award; earned the state media award from the Kentucky Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 2019; named a Charles W. Anderson Laureate by the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet in 2019 honoring her significant contributions in addressing socio-economic issues; and was recognized as a “Kentucky Trailblazer” by the University of Kentucky Martin School of Public Policy and Administration during the Wendell H. Ford Lecture Series in 2019. That same year, Shaw was named by The Kentucky Gazette’s inaugural recognition of the 50 most notable women in Kentucky politics and government.  

Renee was bestowed the 2021 Berea College Service Award and was named “Unapologetic Woman of the Year” in 2021 by the Community Action Council.   

In 2015, she received the Green Dot Award for her coverage of domestic violence, sexual assault & human trafficking. In 2014, Renee was awarded the Anthony Lewis Media Award from the KY Department of Public Advocacy for her work on criminal justice reform. Two Kentucky governors, Republican Ernie Fletcher and Democrat Andy Beshear, have commissioned Renee as a Kentucky Colonel for noteworthy accomplishments and service to community, state, and nation.  

A former adjunct media writing professor at Georgetown College, Renee traveled to Cambodia in 2003 to help train emerging journalists on reporting on critical health issues as part of an exchange program at Western Kentucky University. And, she has enterprised stories for national media outlets, the PBS NewsHour and Public News Service.  

Shaw is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Kentucky, a board member of CASA of Lexington, and a longtime member of the Frankfort/Lexington Chapter of The Links Incorporated, an international, not-for-profit organization of women of color committed to volunteer service. She has served on the boards of the Kentucky Historical Society, Lexington Minority Business Expo, and the Board of Governors for the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. 

Host Renee Shaw smiling in a green dress with a KET set behind her.

Lawmakers Debate Competing Versions of the State Budget Plus Reducing the State Income Tax

As lawmakers head into the final stretch of the 2022 General Assembly session, they are faced with resolving differences between House and Senate versions of the state budget and tax plans.

“The number one priority that we had was to begin to work on adjusting state workforce pay so that we can retain appropriate people inside of governmental service,” says Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chair Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill).

The Senate plan calls for a $4,500 pay raise for all state employees in the first year of the biennium. State police officers and social workers would receive additional increases. In the second year of the biennium, state workers would receive another bump based on a study to be done by the Personnel Cabinet of all state positions and regional cost of living differences.

Overall, the Senate approach to House Bill 1 spends less than the House version. Democrats argue with billions in surplus funds available in state coffers, lawmakers are missing a rare chance to make transformative investments.

“When you look at how much money we have to spend, we’re not pinching pennies this time,” says Senate Minority Caucus Chair Reggie Thomas. “We’ve got opportunity.”

The Lexington Democrat says the Senate proposal adds some $3.6 billion in new debt, yet shortchanges health care and education. For example, he criticizes the plan for not funding full-day kindergarten, which the House version of the budget does, or universal pre-kindergarten.

Another sticking point for Democrats is that neither the House nor Senate plans allocate specific funds for teacher pay raises. McDaniel and House Budget Chair Jason Petrie (R-Elkton) say their budgets provide other funding to school districts, plus public schools in the commonwealth received millions of dollars in federal pandemic assistance. They say that should free up funds at the local level so individual districts can decide what pay raises are appropriate for their teachers.

“To go over the top of that with a bulldozer mentality and say we’re going to mandate this despite what your pay-scale needs are at the local level and your history at the local level, I think, is irresponsible and not a function of state government,” says Petrie.

The Senate plan also provides less transportation funding for schools than the House version. McDaniel says schools can tap federal dollars to help with those costs, plus he says districts should have transportation funds left over from when schools were closed to in-person instruction because of COVID. Petrie says the House budget focuses its school transportation spending on the districts that need the most help. But he adds that he’d like to eventually move to fully funding transportation costs for schools.

Lawmaker Grant Pool

Another difference between the two plans is that the Senate removed a House appropriation of $10 million in annual funding for a grant pool to be divided among all 138 state lawmakers. Every senator would have $130,000 and each representative $50,000 to award grants in their districts for education activities or to governmental or quasi-governmental entities.

Petrie says this would enable lawmakers to fund worthy projects that are too small to get funded through the regular state budget process. He says all grants would be in the public record and would be administered by the Department for Local Government.

Rep. Buddy Wheatley (D-Covington) says he appreciates the intent of the proposal even though he opposes the idea.

“I really do appreciate innovative looks at ways that we can help Kentuckians,” says Wheatley. But he adds, “it’s just not quite baked enough.”

McDaniel offers no explanation as to why the Senate budget omitted the grant pool from its plan. But Thomas says he supports the pool as a good way for lawmakers to return tax dollars to their local communities and support worthy causes.

“If it’s done the right way, it could help a lot of people across the state,” says Thomas.

An Income Tax Cut and a Tax Rebate

Republican leaders are carefully guarding the state’s surplus funds to provide them the fiscal cushion needed to promote tax-related bills, including an income tax cut offered by the House and a tax rebate proposed by the Senate.

House Bill 8 would drop the individual income tax rate from 5 percent to 4 percent starting next year. The measure also calls for further reductions in the rate as the state meets certain revenue benchmarks.

“Over time it would take the personal income tax rate from its current flat rate of 5 percent to zero ultimately,” says Petrie.

To make up for the lost income tax revenue, the state would add sales taxes to a range of goods and services not currently taxed. Food, prescription medicines, and utilities would still be excluded.

The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says the 1 percent cut to the income tax would reduce state receipts by $1.1 billion a year. Further reductions would benefit the wealthy far more than lower- and middle-class families, the group argues.

Republicans call that a “classic class warfare” argument. Petrie says lower income taxes are critical to growing the state’s population, while McDaniel says lower rates are crucial to economic development.

“It is the thing that helps states grow, helps wages grow, and provides opportunities for people,” says McDaniel.

Wheatley says the issue is a matter of fairness, not class warfare. He says a graduated income tax is fairer than the current flat tax. He also fears how the plan will impact the state budget, since he says the proposed sales tax changes won’t compensate for lost income tax receipts.

“We’re going to look at some really draconian cuts in the future if we don’t correct this or stop it now,” says Wheatley

Thomas says the plan hurts working families, and will preclude vital investments in the state’s future.

“We could use that money to fund full-day kindergarten. We don’t,” says Thomas. “We could use that money to fund universal pre-K. We don’t.”

At the same time, Senate Republicans have proposed a plan to give Kentuckians a tax rebate. Senate Bill 194 would send $500 to individual taxpayers, and up to $1,000 to households. That is expected to cost the state $1.15 billion.

McDaniel says the state can afford the rebate since there will be more than $2 billion in unanticipated revenues this fiscal year and since the Budget Reserve Trust Fund is at record levels. He says Kentuckians need the rebate to help offset the costs of inflation.

“That’s the people’s money,” says McDaniel. “It needs to be spent wisely and frankly one of the best places is for them to spend it themselves.”

Thomas criticized the plan on the Senate floor, saying it would do nothing to help the poorest Kentuckians who don’t make enough money to pay income taxes and would therefore be ineligible to receive the rebate.

The Senate approved SB 194 on a vote of 28 to 7 with most Democrats opposing it. The tax cut bill passed the House 67 to 23. Neither chamber has taken action yet on the other chamber’s bills, but McDaniel says he thinks the state can do both the tax cut and the tax rebate.

A Pay Increase for Legislators

The House has also passed legislative and judicial branch budget bills. The legislative plan includes a 6 percent pay raise for Legislative Research Commission staff as well as lawmakers.

Democrats offered an amendment to make the boost for legislators a separate measure, but that proposal was defeated. Petrie says it’s been since 2008 since senators and representatives got a salary increase. McDaniel says the Senate hasn’t discussed the issue yet, but he says if lawmakers get a bump it shouldn’t exceed what all other state employees receive.

Thomas says it makes no sense to improve lawmaker pay but not give the state’s teachers a raise.

“To say we’re going to give ourselves a raise and not give teachers a raise, that just frankly troubles me,” says Thomas. “I think qualified teachers are probably a little bit more important.”

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Connections host Renee Shaw smiling in a gray suit along with the show logo and a "Check Schedule" button.Connections host Renee Shaw smiling in a gray suit along with the show logo and a "Check Schedule" button.

Season 29 Episodes

Medical Marijuana Legalization in Kentucky

S29 E44 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/30/23

Kentucky's Juvenile Justice System

S29 E43 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/23/23

Legislation Introduced in the 2023 General Assembly

S29 E42 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/09/23

2023 Legislative Session Preview

S29 E41 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 12/19/22

National Politics

S29 E40 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 12/05/22

2022 Election Preview

S29 E39 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11/07/22

Inflation and the Economy

S29 E38 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/31/22

Constitutional Amendments 1 & 2

S29 E37 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 10/24/22

Candidates for U.S. House of Representatives: Part Two

S29 E36 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 10/17/22

Candidates for U.S. House of Representatives: Part One

S29 E35 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/10/22

U.S. Senate Candidate Charles Booker

S29 E34 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 10/03/22

Discussing Flooding's Impact on Eastern Kentucky Schools

S29 E33 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 09/26/22

COVID-19, Monkeypox and Influenza

S29 E32 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 09/12/22

Eastern Kentucky Flooding and Legislative Relief Package

S29 E31 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 08/29/22

Child Care in Kentucky

S29 E30 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 08/22/22

School Safety: Debating State Policies

S29 E29 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 08/01/22

Work, Wages and Welfare

S29 E28 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 07/25/22

50 Years of Title IX

S29 E26 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 07/18/22

The Impact of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

S29 E24 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 07/11/22

Kentucky's Ban on Abortion

S29 E23 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 06/27/22

Discussing New Developments in the COVID-19 Pandemic

S29 E22 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/20/22

Reducing Opioid Addiction Rates in Kentucky

S29 E21 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 06/13/22

Mass Shootings and Gun Laws

S29 E20 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/06/22

Discussing the Rise in Gas Prices and Inflation

S29 E19 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 05/23/22

Previewing Kentucky's 2022 Primary Election

S29 E18 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/16/22

Third Congressional District Democratic Primary

S29 E17 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/09/22

Candidates in the 2022 Primary Election: Part Two

S29 E16 Length 58:33 Premiere Date 05/02/22

Candidates in the 2022 Primary Election: Part One

S29 E15 Length 58:40 Premiere Date 04/25/22

Lawmakers Review the 2022 General Assembly

S29 E14 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 04/18/22

Recap of the 2022 Legislative Session

S29 E13 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 04/11/22

Public Assistance and Jobless Benefits

S29 E12 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 03/28/22

Abortion Legislation in the 2022 General Assembly

S29 E11 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 03/21/22

State Budget, Taxes, and Other 2022 General Assembly Topics

S29 E10 Length 57:42 Premiere Date 03/14/22

Critical Race Theory and Approaches to Teaching History

S29 E9 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/28/22

2022 Legislative Session at the Midpoint

S29 E8 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/21/22

Name, Image and Likeness Compensation

S29 E7 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/14/22

Child Abuse and Neglect

S29 E6 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/07/22

Debating School Choice in Kentucky

S29 E5 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 02/01/22

Debating Provisions in the Proposed State Budget

S29 E4 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 01/24/22

Redistricting, State Budget, and Other Legislative Issues

S29 E3 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/10/22

Discussing Legislative Goals for the 2022 General Assembly

S29 E2 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/03/22

Previewing the 2022 Kentucky General Assembly

S29 E1 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 12/06/21

See All Episodes

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Early Childhood Education - S30 E42

Renee Shaw and guests discuss early childhood education. Scheduled guests: State Senator Danny Carroll (R-Benton), chair of the Senate Families and Children Committee and sponsor of the Horizons Act, SB 203, that addresses the child-care industry needs in Kentucky; State Senator Cassie Chambers Armstrong (D-Louisville), member of the Senate Families and Children Committee; Sarah Vanover, Ed.D., author of America's Child-Care Crisis: Rethinking an Essential Business, and policy and research director for Kentucky Youth Advocates; Kate Shanks, vice president of public affairs at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Brigitte Blom, president & CEO of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence; and Andrew McNeill, president of Kentucky Forum for Rights, Economics & Education (KYFREE). A 2024 KET production.

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Kentucky Tonight - S30 E44

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Early Childhood Education - S30 E42

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Abortion Legislation - S30 E41

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School Choice & Education Issues - S30 E40

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The State Budget - S30 E39

  • Wednesday February 7, 2024 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at Kentucky Colleges & Universities - S30 E38

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