FRANKFORT, Ky. — Frankfort Democrats wanted $400 million for “Hero Pay” bonuses for people like nurses, paramedics, grocery store workers and other workers deemed “essential” during the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19.
“My God, we look at the last two years, especially the most frightening moments at the beginning when we were asking people to continue to go to work when the virus, at the beginning, had a mortality rate of almost 10% in some places,” Governor Andy Beshear said. “We had no treatments, and you could take it back to your family.”
And despite Governor Beshear’s support, the expense was not included in the budget.
Senate Speaker Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) said Republicans couldn’t be on the same page as Democrats about who should qualify.
“There really wasn’t the ability to define it in one industry or another,” he said. “So let’s try to create a better, broad-based system that everyone would see the benefits of, resulting in lower taxes.”
The tax cut that Stivers is talking about is an income tax cut passed by lawmakers before the veto break.
Stivers said it would give people more money and encourage others to move here.
“Where are people moving to? They move to states that have no income tax,” he said.
Governor Beshear vetoed the income tax bill on Friday and said he was still reading the budget lawmakers sent him, but there was not much he could do, and he said essential workers deserved the bonus.
“But I think the leadership of the General Assembly disagrees,” Governor Beshear said. “I think it’s really disappointing.”
Lawmakers return April 13-14 to override vetoes and pass last-minute bills before adjourning for the year.