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Social service advocates are seeking a stop to further income tax reductions

Stu Johnson

Close to 30 organizations are calling upon the Kentucky General Assembly to put a pause on further reductions in the state income tax rate. It fell a half percentage point January first. On day one of the legislative session, speakers expressed concerns that future scheduled cuts could mean less state money for services. Erin Doherty Copeland is a psychotherapist and member of the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. She said mental health services are already lacking.

“Studies have shown a relationship between financial and psychological distress. Financial related distress is associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and aggression among low-income individuals and families,” said Doherty Copeland.

Senate Budget Committee Chair Chris Daniel, who helped shape the income tax reduction plan, isn’t worried that a continued reduction in income taxes will cause program cuts.

“You know we accounted for reasonable growth in the triggers that are allowed for in the bill. The growth has far outpaced the needs for the added revenues right now. So, I’m really not very concerned that,” said Daniel.

During a time of high inflation, McDaniel said it’s better to leave money in taxpayers’ pockets to spend.

Senate President Robert Stivers said he anticipates his chamber to approve an additional income tax reduction to four percent. That would become effective in 2024.

One of those participating in the news conference was Thurman Wenzl, a retired public health researcher. He believes fair taxation means a graduated income tax structure. Jason Bailey with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy said federal stimulus dollars will go away in time.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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