Lawmakers: tuition tax credits, charter funding not likely this session

Jan. 6 – Tonight, four members of the state legislature discussed the upcoming session on KET’s Kentucky Tonight. Two republicans, representative David Meade and senator David Givens, and two democrats, representative Joni Jenkins and senator Morgan McGarvey discussed many topics, but spent a considerable amount of time addressing public education.

Tuition Tax Credits, charter school funding, school safety, pensions, and revenue, were among the topics discussed.

Charter School Funding & Tuition Tax Credits

Meade and Givens both agreed that charter school funding and tuition tax credits were unlikely to pass this session. According to Meade, conversations concerning these items are “not very robust right now.” He concluded the discussion by saying “Not in this session.”

School Safety (Senate Bill 1)

Of the $80-plus million needed to implement Senate Bill 1 of the 2019 session, only about $19 million is expected to be set aside, according to Givens. He went on to say the bill will likely be modified this session.

Revenue Options

McGarvey discussed the importance of revenue, regardless of how small or large it may be. Sports betting and medical marijuana was discussed and all four legislators agreed they are on the table, but wouldn’t produce substantial amounts of revenue. Also discussed and likely to pass this session, is taxes on cigarettes, gas, and vaping.

Meade stated an expanded gaming bill, such as casinos, is “dead on arrival, and all four lawmakers agreed there is not enough support for recreational marijuana. McGarvey pushed back, stating expanded gaming is already here. Currently, the money is crossing the border into other states.

McGarvey urged lawmakers to let the citizens of Kentucky decide in a referendum, but it must first pass the house and senate to be placed on a ballot, and that’s not likely.

Pension reform

The four lawmakers did not specifically discuss the possibility of pension reform. All agreed the obligations must be met and future generations should not be saddled with debt, not specific bills or funding was mentioned.

Session starts Tuesday

The 2020 Legislative Session begins Tuesday, when the House and Senate convene at noon. Bills will begin to be filed tomorrow, and one bill of interested, pre-filed by Democrat Josie Raymond of Louisville, would create universal Pre-K. No committee meetings are expected to occur this week.