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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

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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