melinda gibbons prunty CURRENTBELTON, Ky. (6/12/18) — There are several things I want to share with you before the interim committee meetings start for me this week. Interim committee meetings take place over the summer and fall between sessions.

They serve as an opportunity to get a preview of topics that might be addressed in the upcoming session, address bills that were presented but not passed in previous sessions that might need additional work and/or consider additional adjustments to bills previously passed that might have had unintended consequences that were unforeseen.  One of the latter is the portion of the recently passed Worker’s Comp bill HB2.

The concern is going back to the mandating of having B readers for black lung diagnoses and having enough of them to serve the black lung population. I am planning for Donald Givens, Director of Muhlenberg Coal Miner’s Clinic to testify how this is going to be a hardship for patients to get the services they need in a timely fashion and the need to do what is best for the patients. I will keep you posted on further developments.
 
Another issue that has been brought to my attention is the closing of the New Salem Bridge on SR41 just outside of Nortonville. Several folks in both Hopkins and Muhlenberg Counties have reached out to me about this issue. I have been in communication on several occasions with Mayor Sturt. She has informed me that she is working on this issue with engineers, CSX and county officials in hopes to have a resolution soon. She has been assured of my support in doing anything that I can do on the state level when and if needed. 
 
I have mentioned tax reform in previous articles, however, I want to revisit that issue as we approach the first of July. The first steps of moving towards comprehensive tax reforms will be implemented on July 1st at the beginning of the new fiscal year for the state. Those steps include BOTH a 1 percent cut to income tax moving to a flat 5 percent income tax across the board combined with an expansion of the taxing on some services that were previously tax exempt.

Unfortunately, the Revenue Cabinet has not gotten the word out in a timely fashion to all service industries that will now be required to collect a 6 percent tax on those services. The services were carefully chosen because taxes were already being collected on the parts used for those services or for products related to the rendering of that service. The thought process was that staff would already be equipped to collect it and it should simplify their work because they would no longer have to keep up with what is taxed and what is not taxed while generating new monies to cover the fully funding of pensions for the first time in over ten years as well as counterbalance the 1 percent loss of income tax.
 
Services that will now be taxed can be found at https://taxanswers.ky.gov/Sales-and-Excise-Taxes/Pages/default.aspx  If you are a business with questions as to how this will affect you, check with your accountant or call (502)564-5700. The vision is to take small steps towards 0% income tax, monitor the changes as each step is implemented to evaluate the effects, get feedback and then consider the next step so as not to make too many changes too soon; in other words “to get it right.” Comprehensive tax reform has been discussed for many years, however, nothing has ever been done.
 
June has been dedicated as “Dairy Month” by HR103 and has been done so ever since 1937. According to the Kentucky Dairy Alliance there are two dairy farms in the 15th District: one is Wade Mathis in Muhlenberg County and the other is Shelton Tows in Hopkins County. Let us appreciate and support our local Kentucky proud products including Kentucky Proud dairy products. (If there are others, please let me know!)   
 
Since last I reported on my activities in the district I have: attended the groundbreaking of the new Novelis plant in Guthrie introducing myself to company officials and making them aware of land available in the 15th District http://novelis.com/guthrie/, met with officials regarding employees concerns about the future of TVA’s Paradise plant, attended the Muhlenberg Job Corps Center for Industry Council Meeting where Labor Cabinet officials were present to discuss apprenticeship programs and the desire to partner with local businesses for apprenticeship slots to help develop future employees, attended the Hopkinsville Ceremony to honor all law enforcement during National Police Week along with Lt. Gov. Hampton, Sheriff McGehee and Courtney Peveler, spoke to youth from a local church regarding the importance of engaging in the legislative process, attended several graduations in the district, attended the Friends of Lake Malone Arts & Craft sale, the Memorial Day Celebration in Earlington and at the VFW in Greenville, had a team participate in the Opportunity Walk for the Opportunity Center, presented a state flag to the City of Mortons Gap, attended sporting events in the district, heard the presentation of the North Hopkins High School FFA team and gave feedback prior to them going to state competition, attended the Ceremonial Bill Signing of HB1 in Frankfort, the groundbreaking of Braidy Industries in eastern Kentucky again meeting the owner and inviting him to consider the 15th District for future expansions, attended a reception and the Opening Ceremonies for the State Special Olympic Games at Eastern Kentucky University in order to support all athletes but in particular the Muhlenberg and Hopkins County teams, participated in Rods & Ribs, attended the ribbon cutting of the new Alliance Coal storage facility in Madisonville,  stopped by Take-A-Kid Fishing, said the opening prayer for the 1st Annual PRP (Patrick Rudd Project https://www.facebook.com/PatrickRuddProject) Golf Tournament in Madisonville, participated in the Mortons Gap Coalfield Festival, the Nortonville Spring Fling as well as others. I rounded out my time this past week by having the privilege of presenting a Citation of Valor to First Sgt. Duane Davenport upon his retirement from the National Guard.
 
I can be reached through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at-1-800-372-7181, at 502-564-8100 Ext. 686, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please follow me on Facebook @melindagibbonsprunty.
 
Note: Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty represents the 15th House District serving Muhlenberg and SE Hopkins Counties.

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