Budget, taxes disastrous for Kentucky

Published 8:48 am Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Dear Editor,

I am one of the thousands of Kentucky teachers who rallied for public education in Frankfort last week. I would like to share why.

We teachers went to fight for our students. We knew the sewage/pension bill would have devastating effects on public education. We were afraid of what these same legislators would do to Kentucky’s kids and teachers when passing a budget.

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Our fears, unfortunately, became reality. As we rallied at the capitol, legislators passed laws that are disastrous for ALL working Kentuckians. They cut education and higher education. They increased sales taxes and raised income taxes for most all of us.

Two groups benefit from the new legislation: the wealthiest 5 percent of Kentuckians and large corporations. Large corporations, many of whose CEOs live outside the state, will get $60 million bonuses. Meanwhile, small companies in Kentucky will face tax hikes. Studies, like those by Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, show that while 92 percent of Kentuckians will pay more in income tax next year, Kentucky’s millionaires will get $500 million in tax cuts.

Teachers were dealt the biggest blow. As middle-class Kentuckians, our families will suffer from the tax laws. Plus, the sewage/pension bill cuts so deep, it threatens our very system of public education. Legislators did not put the money they borrowed back into the Kentucky Teacher Retirement fund. Instead they passed legislation that changed the rules so that funds will never be replaced.

Teachers and retirees’ health insurance premiums will skyrocket. Retired teachers will pay extra taxes on their retirement income. Current teachers will see less of our own money at retirement. The worst, however, is for new teachers. Like current teachers, they will be excluded from social security and spousal benefits, PLUS they will be forced into a particular 401(k) plan, which studies show are terrible. These changes save the system and taxpayers NO money. Retirement plans this bad will change the landscape of who remains a teacher and who goes into teaching. In turn, it is Kentucky’s kids who will suffer.

Boyle County residents like me are represented by Daniel Elliot (House), Rick Girdler (Senate), and Gov. Bevin. These three all voted YES to the new tax laws and the sewage/pension bill.

Please join me and other teachers in rallying to save public education in our commonwealth. This problems affects us ALL, and we need all the help we can get!

Blossom Brosi