Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, laid out a rosy picture for Kentucky in his State of the Commonwealth address on Wednesday evening.
Pointing to economic development success and record budget surplus, Beshear said he’s looking into the future as we move through some of our toughest days of pandemic recovery, and natural disasters.
“In the Book of Psalms, we’re told: ‘Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.’ The joy of that morning – that promise of a better Kentucky – means that our children and grandchildren never have to leave this state to pursue their dreams, because no matter how big they dream, they can chase their dreams right here. A tomorrow where people don’t move from our state, but to it. Where people and businesses choose Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “This promise of a better future has never been brighter, as our commonwealth has emerged from the pandemic as a national economic leader. Every day, we are winning, with company after company picking us – picking Kentucky.”
Beshear also touted infrastructure advancements like the Brent Spence Bridge project, which is moving forward with federal funding and without tolls.
The Governor also unveiled his 2023 legislative proposals and said he is working with Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, to file bills this session.
The first bill would make his Education First Plan law. The plan would provide a 5% pay raise for public school educators to address the 11,000 teacher vacancies and fully fund universal pre-K, which would help young parents rejoin the workforce while ensuring every child is kindergarten-ready. The plan would also provide mental health services for students and student loan forgiveness for public school teachers.
“Let’s make Kentucky a shining example of how to treat educators and our public school systems,” Gov. Beshear said.
Republicans have already balked at the ideas from Beshear which also include legalizing medical marijuana and sports gaming.
GOP leadership in the House and Senate have signaled their plans to decrease the state income tax.
Beshear is seeking re-election this year, and a dozen Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination to challenge him this fall.