National, state and local chambers talk legislative priorities

Representatives of the national, state and local chambers of commerce discussed their priorities for 2023 at Tuesday morning’s Christian County Chamber Legislative Update eye opener breakfast.

Kevin Courtois is the executive director for congressional and public affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and says they’re pushing for congress to intervene and prevent a national railroad strike that would adversely affect the entire economy.

He says the national defense authorization act is under negotiations in congress and they’ll likely pass that before passing a continuing resolution to fund the government next month and then raise the debt ceiling early next year.

Kentucky Chamber President Ashli Watts spoke well of tax reform legislation passed in previous sessions of the General Assembly and says the commonwealth must remain on the path to no income tax.

She says Kentucky needs to find ways to encourage high schoolers who don’t pursue college to find some path to a credential or certificate and she wants legislation that encourages more able-bodied Kentuckians to enter the workforce.

Tracey Clark chairs the Christian County Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee and says a top local priority is the industrial connector at Commerce Park #2 and other infrastructure needs for development there as Ascend Elements brings the largest investment in Western Kentucky history.

Clark says the local chamber is also petitioning lawmakers to exempt military pensions from the state income tax, which she believes would encourage more military retirees to live in Kentucky. She’s also hopeful progress will be made in 2023 toward getting Interstate 169 signage placed along the Pennyrile Parkway.

Watts also presented state Senator Whitney Westerfield with the chamber MVP Award for his work on Senate Bill 90 that begins a pilot project to get drug addiction treatment to some jail inmates while they are awaiting trial.