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SENATOR MAX WISE: Week 1 of the 2024 Legislative Session

 

As we convene the 2024 regular session, I would like first to wish you a happy new year. I hope your holidays were filled with joy and laughter while spending quality time with family and friends.

 

The Senate convened for day one of the 2024 Legislative Session on Tuesday, January 2, with incredible renditions of our national anthem and “My Old Kentucky Home” by the 100th Army Band, Fort Knox.

 

Legislative sessions in even-numbered years are budget sessions, consisting of 60 legislative days, unlike the shorter 30-day session that occurs in odd-numbered years. Short session years are intended to evaluate previously enacted policies and address any necessary legislative clean-up. As outlined in the Constitution of Kentucky, the General Assembly must gavel into session on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in January and requires lawmakers to conclude legislative business on April 15.

 

The primary focus in the Senate on Week 1 was to pass this year’s Senate rules, officially confirm committee assignments, and introduce initial legislation. The only two items constitutionally required by the General Assembly in this year’s legislative session are to enact a new two-year state budget and road plan.

 

The Kentucky Constitution vests the exclusive power and duty to tax and spend the public's money to the General Assembly. Our state constitution requires balanced spending with available financial resources, which is good. While the federal government can borrow and incur trillions of dollars in debt, this is not an option for our state government. The precious tax dollars you entrust to your government must be spent with care and discipline and that is my intent as your state senator.

 

The total amount of taxpayer funding for the next two-year budget and road plan will be based on what was recently set by the Consensus Forecasting Group. According to this group of economic experts' best estimates, total general fund revenues—which result from sales, income and other taxes—are approximately $31.6 billion over the 2025-2026 biennium with road fund revenues resulting from gas and motor vehicle taxes are roughly $3.7 billion. The state budget provides for state government operations and essential government services, and the road plans provide for investments in our roads, bridges, and highways.

 

The state Senate will have the final crack at proposing a state budget and road plan. Our fingerprint will not be applied to the document until a proposal is passed out of the state House of Representatives. I will keep you updated throughout this critical process and will remain an advocate for our district.

 

On Jan. 1, the second automatic reduction of our state income tax went into effect. House Bill (HB) 8 from the 2022 Legislative Session established the framework by which working Kentuckians' income tax could be decreased responsibly. During the 2023 Legislative Session, the General Assembly passed HB 1 and codified the first two tax reductions after HB 8’s criteria were met. The Jan. 1 income tax reduction lowers your income tax rate from 4.5 percent to 4 percent. By the end of 2024, HB 8 and the resulting individual income tax reductions will have resulted in approximately $1.8 billion being left in the pockets of taxpayers and consumers, providing you more of your own money to spend as you wish.

 

While the state budget and road plan will be our primary responsibility this session, there are many vital policy items to take care of. Each proposed measure, be it mundane or headline-worthy, will receive the debate and deliberation the legislative process requires.

 

Know that I take the privilege of representing you in Frankfort very seriously and consider it my honor to do so.  You may find the status of any legislation by calling 866-840-2835, get meeting information at 800-633-9650, or leave a message for me at 800-372-7181. You can also watch live legislative activity at https://ket.org/live/ and follow the process at Legislature.ky.gov.

 

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Senator Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, represents the 16th Senate District, including Adair, Allen, Metcalfe, Monroe, and Taylor Counties and eastern Warren County. He is Senate Economic Development, Tourism and Labor Committee chair. Wise also serves as a Senate Education Committee member and is a member of the newly formed Families and Children Committee and Health Services Committee. Additionally, he is an Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee member.

 

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