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Organizations want money used for income tax cuts to be spent elsewhere

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Posted at 7:48 PM, Jan 03, 2023

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Members of 28 organizations gathered at the capitol Tuesday morning to ask lawmakers not to lower income taxes any further.

"It's really hard to get a hold of em'. We've tried to email, we've tried to call, and we can't seem to get a hold of them so we're gonna hang around today until we get to talk to them," said Annette Hines with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

Hines and her friend Angela Rowe traveled more than an hour from Rowan County, hoping to convince lawmakers to reconsider the proposed income tax cuts.

Seeing the impact of poverty where they live encouraged them to push for more social service programs and assistance.

"I know that if we don't fight, who's gonna fight for us? If we don't do it and also to put a face to the actions that are happening," said Rowe.

They joined a host of Kentucky organizations led by the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy to ask that surplus budget dollars that fueled tax cuts be put into areas like housing, child care, and education.

"In Rowan County, there's a 2-3 year waiting list for HUD. Older people are living in sub-standard housing that's covered in mold," said Hines.

However, within an hour of the session, lawmakers in the House filed a bill doing the opposite, hoping to further reduce the tax rate to 4%. Republicans in the state legislature say their ultimate goal is to have no state income tax at all. They would join nine other states already there.

However, by law, the cuts are only triggered if there's a budget surplus. They're banking on the idea that people paying less of their income will make the state more attractive to live and work while putting more money in people's pockets.

The Kentucky Economic Policy Institute released research revealing a potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to the state general fund, even taking into account additional sales tax revenues from House Bill 8.

They strongly disagree that Republican-led efforts will keep up with budgetary needs, leading to losses in funding for programs across the state.

For the dozens of organizations and individuals who gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday, the savings won't be worth it. Those against the tax cut measures anticipate the taxes meant to save them money will hit their pockets even harder.