Members speak out for economic justice legislation

KFTC members have been active in Frankfort this week, supporting several economic justice bills as the session draws to a close. House Bill 374, which closes corporate tax loopholes to fund a state Earned Income Tax Credit, received a hearing in committee yesterday, and CKY member Jesus Gonzalez testified in support of the EITC. Here is Jesus's testimony:

"I’m a single father. I work full-time. This policy will help people like me, parents who are working to support our kids. Parents who go days without eating breakfast and lunch because we can only afford one meal a day for ourselves."  

This bill wouldn’t fix everything, but it would help. Two of my tires are about to pop, and I can’t afford to get new ones. It’s not safe to drive my child with tires like that, but those are the choices I have to make. A bill like this would help me buy safe tires on the car. It would help people who are in situations like mine.

I urge you to vote on this bill and pass it out of this committee today.

I want to add one more thing. My family is from Cuba, so I recognize the privilege that I have in being able to address the committee, and participate in our government in this way. But because of my family’s background, I also recognize how important it is to speak up and try to fix things that are unfair. I think that government is stronger when we all participate in it.

Thank you."

Despite lots of supportive comments from committee members, the comittee didn't have an opportunity to vote on the bill. Jesus's testimony, though, lifted up the importance of the voices of Kentuckians getting heard in our legislative process. One legislator came up to Jesus afterward and said, "I want to thank you. This is an issue I have always been against, and was not going to support. Your testimony has opened my eyes, and made me realize this is something we may need."

William and Watkins 2Members returned to Frankfort today, braving the threat of an ice storm, to lift their voices again for the renters' protections of URLTA (HB 368) and raising Kentucky's minimum wage (House Bill 2, which is still possible for the Senate to pass). This is the first year URLTA has been introduced, and we used the day to focus on legislators in more rural areas of Kentucky where renters are more vulnerable because their communities haven't adopted the protections in URLTA, building up the base of its support. 

Maya Williamson, a first-time lobbyist from Jefferson County, said of the day, "It made me feel like if we keep at this long enough, we can really make a difference." 

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