Ky. State Representative
Communication is key to the successful workings of a democracy, and with the start of the 2016 session of the Kentucky General Assembly less than a month away, I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your phone and Facebook messages, letters, and e-mails.
No matter the format used, your “good words” carry great value in the work that I do for the people of Pike and Martin counties in the 93rd legislative district. They’re essential, really, in determining how best to serve as your voice in Frankfort.
While I work overtime to keep up with all the local news, and participate in as many public forums as possible, I’m always thankful to learn about your individual views on the great variety of subjects that confront our communities and our Commonwealth.
In seeking state and federal dollars for our region, I often build my cases of support for much-needed road work, water and sewer extensions, and school improvements on the detailed information I receive from you. I set my priorities on your priorities, and work hard to see that the limited pool of funds we receive go toward projects that serve the greatest good.
I also enjoy learning about the special people within our region that continually work to serve the greater good. Sometimes I am able to honor them on the House floor in Frankfort through citations and resolutions. I believe sharing the stories of these individuals and their sacrifices help my colleagues from across the state recognize the beauty and possibilities of Eastern Kentucky.
We begin the 2016 session of the legislature on Tuesday, January 5th, with a new Governor, Matt Bevin. I pledge to do all I can to make sure our new Governor is aware of issues of importance facing our region and to continue to represent our region’s best interests as we create a spending plan for the Commonwealth for the next two years.
As the state continues to claw its way out of the recession, the recent budget reports offer some gently promising numbers. Fiscal year 2015 ended with a $165 million surplus, marking the fifth straight year of growth for Kentucky. Personal and business tax revenue exceeded projections. And the state’s rainy day fund is at its highest level since 2007.
But those silver linings come with some dark clouds. Coal severance tax receipts continue to plummet. Lottery proceeds were $16.5 million lower than expected. Revenues from the gasoline tax have declined as fuel prices dropped. Pension shortfalls remain unresolved, and bills for Medicaid expansion will soon start coming due.
Clearly, we have our work cut out for us, but I know I can do my job better when I understand what’s most important to you. I hope you’ll save this column, or at least write down this information, so I can learn more about what’s on your mind as the session proceeds through its 60 legislative days.
You can reach me at [email protected] or call 1-800-781-7181 to leave me a message. You can also write to me in care of Rep. Chris Harris, 702 Capitol Ave, Annex Room 329, Frankfort, KY, 40601.
For the latest updates, please find me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @RepHarrisKy. You can also find a variety of information related to the legislative process – everything from the status of individual bills to a schedule of committee meetings to “kids” pages with legislative facts, state symbols and coloring pages — on the Legislative Research Commission’s website at www.lrc.ky.gov.
You may also find use for these phone numbers: The Bill Status Line, 1-866-840-2835; The Calendar (Meetings) Line at 1-800-633-9650; the TTY Message Line, 1-800-896-0305; and En Español, 1-866-840-6574.
While your words may not cost much, they are worth a great deal to me as your state legislator. Please keep in touch. I am honored to represent you and look forward to hearing from you soon.
State Rep. Chris Harris represents the state’s 93rd legislative district in Pike and Martin counties.