Tax refund bill gets passes in KY Senate


Chart by Owensboro Times

Some Kentuckians are closer to having more money in their pockets after the Kentucky Senate voted Monday to advance a bill that would provide tax refunds to the state. Senate Bill 194 would provide a one-time tax refund of up to $500 to single taxpayers and up to $1,000 to joint filers, not to exceed the amount of taxes they paid last year.

The money is available through billions of budget surplus funds in the current fiscal year.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Christian McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, said taxpayers face about $267 in extra expenses every month from the highest level of inflation in 40 years and that the refund will help workers in Kentucky with the costs.

“If you went shopping this weekend, if you paid a utility bill, if you did any of the basic things in life, you’re seeing inflation that’s probably different from most of us in our adult life,” he said.

McDaniel said all surplus money in the state budget is generated by workers in Kentucky, and lawmakers need to figure out who is best placed to decide how the money is spent.

The bill was approved 28-7 after nearly an hour of debate in the Senate.

Proponents have widely argued that taxpayers need and deserve a refund in times of excess funding and that giving money back to Kentuckians wouldn’t interfere with other projects in the budget — like paying down retirement debt.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said there was enough money in state coffers to cover the legislation with plenty to spare for other purposes.

“I don’t agree with my colleagues who say discount,” he said. “It’s reimbursement. It’s giving your money back to those who paid for it. And once we’ve done that, we’ll still be sitting on $5 billion over the next 12 months to spend — $5 billion.

Opponents, however, said such major spending decisions should be made in the context of the state’s next two-year spending plan. They also criticized the bill for not offering rebates to Kentuckians who pay relatively little or no taxes such as retirees or the working poor.

Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, said he’s not convinced offering the discounts as proposed would be the best thing to do and that the Senate needs to hear first. details of the proposed budget that lawmakers are expected to vote on later this session. .

He also said the money should be returned to more types of taxpayers.

“I heard someone say it’s just about giving the money back to the people who paid it. I think we need to put one more word in there. It’s giving money back to some people who paid for it. The reality is that even people who don’t pay income tax pay state taxes that go into our general fund,” McGarvey said.

The amended bill now heads to the House for consideration.

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