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Data show home-ownership disparities in North Dakota; Trump reaped over $100 million through fraud, New York says as trial starts; Volunteer water monitors: citizen scientists.

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Donald Trump's civil trial in New York is underway, House Republicans are divided on whether to oust Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, and Latino voter groups are hoping to see mass turnout in the next election.

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A small fire department in rural Indiana is determined not to fail new moms and babies, the growing election denial movement has caused voting districts to change procedures and autumn promises spectacular scenery along America's rural byways.

KY Governor Touts Teacher Pay, Remains Silent on Tax Cuts in State-of-State

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Thursday, January 5, 2023   

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced a 5% pay raise for teachers in his State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night.

His Education First Plan aims to fill the 11,000 public-school teacher vacancies across the state and fully fund universal Pre-K.

Alan Smith, co-chair of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and a registered nurse in Bowling Green, said he believes more support for education is a gain for Kentucky communities.

"My wife happens to be a teacher, and I've got two kids in public schools," Smith pointed out. "That would be incredible. Anything would be appreciated."

Kentucky now ranks 44th among states in teacher pay. Smith said inflation continues to strain household budgets and noted small paycheck increases are not enough to ease the financial burden on families.

Smith is disappointed the governor did not mention tax cuts which went into effect at the beginning of this month, dropping the income tax from 5% to 4.5%. Lawmakers have expressed an interest in passing legislation to further reduce the state's income tax. Smith believes communities in need of public services will be most affected by the cuts, while the wealthiest in the state receive a hefty tax break.

"I think if they keep dropping this basically by 2025, it's going to cost us something like $1.2 billion for our state budget," Smith explained. "That's not something that he really touched on. "

Smith added infrastructure projects the governor spoke about in his address, including the I-69 Ohio River crossing in Henderson, state Highway 30, and the Mountain Parkway Expansion, require tax revenue to build and maintain.


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