“I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
All 100 members of the Kentucky House took this oath as we officially convened the 2023 Regular Session on January 3. The oath itself is just 30 words, but they mean so much as lawmakers from across the state gather to consider both the opportunities and challenges facing our Commonwealth. As a new member, the oath meant a great deal to me and served as a powerful reminder of what a privilege it is to represent this community in Frankfort. I will serve to the best of my abilities and hope you know that I take this role seriously.
Because this is an odd-year, this a short session and it is divided into two parts. With the first week behind us, we adjourned on Friday until we reconvene in early February for the remaining 26 legislative days. I am happy to report that we hit the ground running during our first week and I am proud to report on the work we have already accomplished.
On Thursday, members of the House voted overwhelmingly to pass HB 1, legislation that would lower the state’s individual income tax another half a percentage point to 4% in 2024. This measure, HB 1, comes just days after the income tax was lowered to 4.5% on January 1 of this year. While the work to make Kentucky’s tax code more competitive began more than six years ago, this latest step was put into motion with the passage of HB 8 last session. That bill lays the groundwork to eliminate the individual income tax entirely, but includes preset triggers that must be met before the legislature can move to decrease the tax in half a percentage point increments. These triggers ensure that the tax cuts do not endanger funding for state programs and agencies. HB 1 now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass when we return in February.
We also acted on legislation (HB 2 and HB 11) that provides additional funding for the Kentucky veterans nursing home in Bowling Green. Like so many things in our daily lives, inflation and shortages have increased the construction cost, requiring an additional $16.6 million to ensure the project continues. This facility will be the state’s sixth veterans nursing home and provide quality skilled nursing care to those who have sacrificed so much in our name. Clearly I am proud of our dedication to taking care of our state’s veterans, but I am also pleased to see that this home will create 120 good paying jobs. These two bills will be taken up by the Senate during the second part of the session. I am honored to be a cosponsor of HB 2 and appreciate the bill’s sponsor, Representative Michael Meredith, for allowing me to do so.
I am eager to begin working for the people of our district and make Kentucky a state where people wish to live, grow businesses, and raise families. In addition to filing and passing legislation, legislative committees also began meeting. I am pleased to share that I will be serving on the Judiciary; Family Services and Children; and Tourism and Outdoor Recreation committees.
In summary, the first vote of my career was to help pass HB 1 to lower the state income tax. My first co-sponsorship was for HB 2, providing funds to build a nursing home for elderly veterans. On Friday, I co-sponsored a House Resolution recognizing January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day in memory of Holocaust victims and survivors, and further proclaiming that we, as citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, should work to promote human dignity and confront hate. I am beyond proud for these to be my first acts as your State Representative. I will fondly remember my first week in Frankfort for the rest of my career.
As always, I can be reached here at home anytime, or through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181. Feel free to contact me via email at Nick.Wilson@lrc.ky.gov. If you would like more information, please visit the LRC website www.legislature.ky.gov.