Kentucky Club for Growth
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November 30, 2006

A constitutional amendment to reduce lawmaker accountability?

Julie Denton has pre-filed a bill to extend the terms of lawmakers. Sooo, lawmakers should be held accountable for their actions less often?

The bill is in the form of an amendment to Kentucky's constitution.

At the federal level, studies show that lawmakers who have been in Washington the shortest time typically are willing to spend less than lawmakers who have been there longer.

Several others are already jumping out in opposition: David Adams, Mark Nickolas and Daniel Solzman. Looks like the groundswell of opposition is already moving. Read the comments, too.

November 28, 2006

Federal pork for Kentucky slashed?

A Wall Street Journal Editorial:

We'll soon find out if the loss of both houses of Congress was enough of a shock for Republicans to check into the Hazelton rehab center for spending addicts. GOP Doctors, er, Senators Jim DeMint (South Carolina) and Tom Coburn (Oklahoma) have been staging an intervention so their colleagues don't risk another overdose before they ride off into the minority.

The drama played out on the Senate floor recently as the pair blocked GOP Appropriators from passing spending bills for Fiscal Year 2007 unless they stripped out special-interest "earmarks." You could almost feel the withdrawal shakes coming on, as the Members contemplated a year without pork.

The agriculture bill, for example, includes a new $4.9 billion "emergency" handout for farmers, courtesy of North Dakota Democrat Kent Conrad. Millions more would have been directed to Alaskan salmon research, Montana sheep, New York geese and animal-waste management in Kentucky. The 10 remaining Senate spending bills (and nine in the House) are estimated to contain some 12,000 earmarks. If GOP leaders couldn't pass these bills individually, the scheme was to wrap them all into one giant "omnibus" bill whose innards no one would ever be able to inspect.

November 22, 2006

Kudlow strikes again

Larry Kudlow again gets the better of big government conservatives:

As poll after poll shows, overspending cost the Republicans dearly in the recent election. According to polling by Pat Toomey’s Club for Growth, two-thirds of voters in 15 key swing districts believed Republicans in Washington have overspent. Democrats, on the other hand, were predominantly seen as eliminators of wasteful spending. By more than two-to-one, voters preferred the candidate who would cut spending. By a similar margin, swing-district voters favored keeping the Bush income-tax cuts, and by five-to-two supported keeping the capital gains and dividend tax rates low. By almost three-to-one respondents desired a repeal of the death tax.

A full 54 percent of respondents to a recent CNN poll said they believe government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Only 37 percent said the government should do more to solve the country’s problems.

The message? Cut spending and keep tax rates low.

November 21, 2006

Ky. minimum wage fight likely - editorial, The Enquirer

November 20, 2006

Club for Growth eyes spending - by Patrick Crowley, The Enquirer

November 19, 2006

Kudlow slaps 'big government conservatism'

Big spending Republicans may have to do an end-run around big spending Democrats:

The era of big-government conservatism must come to an end. And right now.

In the new Congress next year, Democrats will push a revenue paygo. This means any new spending initiatives could be financed through higher taxes. And Democrats want to spend. Just take a look at their wish list: student loan subsidies, a major expansion of No Child Left Behind, more money to fill so-called “doughnut hole” (Medicare Part D) prescription-drug assistance, and an expansion of health care for the uninsured on the way to universal health coverage.

We could be talking hundreds of billions of dollars of budget increases that under a revenue paygo system would require higher tax rates.

Many Democrats are saying there’s a $350 billion “tax gap” that could be collected from tax deadbeats. But this is a huge reach. Sure, a tax amnesty, such as the one proposed by supply-side economist Arthur Laffer, would bring in good money. But not enough to fund the Democratic spending machine.

The GOP must preempt this with a spending-cap approach that will maintain low tax rates and grow the economy. They must show voters that they’re moving back home to small government.

The power of ideas

Thomas Sowell makes two amazing and powerful observations about the recently-deceased Milton Friedman:

It is doubtful whether Ronald Reagan could have been elected president in 1980 without the changes in public opinion produced by Friedman’s work in the previous decades.


The Keynesians’ belief that government policy could wisely make trade-offs between rates of inflation and rates of unemployment was epitomized in the Phillips Curve, which seemed to lend empirical support to that belief. Friedman dealt that analysis a body blow when he argued that it was not the rate of inflation which reduced unemployment but the fact that inflation exceeded expectations.

In other words, even a high rate of inflation would not reduce unemployment if inflationary policies became so common as to be expected. The "stagflation" of the 1970s--with simultaneous double-digit inflation and double-digit unemployment--validated what Friedman had said, in a way that no one could ignore.

Ideas with power. 

Politics makes strange bedfellows

Rep. Nancy Pelosi is getting some well-deserved kudos from some weird places. For example, the Republican-American:

With the Democrats taking over in January, House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi is promising a rule change demolishing the wall of secrecy Congress has built around earmarks. "I'd just as soon do away with (them), but that probably isn't realistic."

Why not? Her proposal is a good first step because anonymity nourishes waste and disclosure reveals which member is greasing which special interests. But earmarks subvert the appropriations process because they become law without benefit of debate, competition or the advice of relevant agencies. In many cases, they wouldn't have a prayer of passage if not for their inclusion into larger bills enjoying more widespread congressional support.

 And this from the Bluegrass Institute:

Kentucky’s lawmakers should do in Frankfort what Pelosi has made a priority in Washington – put a name on every slice of pork.

The manner in which lawmakers passed Kentucky’s most recent budget is a stark reminder that a lack of transparency seems to increase politicians’ appetites for spending. House and Senate leaders hammered out the final budget in almost total secrecy, emerging in mid-April to force lawmakers to vote for the whole package.

Legislators were given mere hours to read the massive document before casting their votes. There was no time to question spending decisions.

By making every spending program attributable to the individual lawmaker responsible, appropriate spending priorities may come to dominate the budget process once again.

If properly-labeled pork is what we can expect in a Pelosi-run House, it won't be all bad.

A brisk rise in American Wages - By Mark Trumbull, The Christian Science Monitor

November 13, 2006

Jeff Flake: Folk Hero

Via Andy Roth at the national Club for Growth, here's Jeff Flake reminding us why the GOP got beat last week:

Kentucky Club for Growth Launches


Nov 13, 2006 - Many have said that "conservatives" were defeated on Tuesday. We say that is not true; it is the Republican Party that was defeated. Sadly, many members of the GOP have abandoned the principles that guided Ronald Reagan, culminating last week in major Republican losses in both the U.S. Congress, as well as the Kentucky General Assembly.

Fortunately, the national Club for Growth fared far better in elections, winning 7 of 8 races in which they endorsed a candidate in the primary and followed through the general. They did so by finding and supporting candidates who believe that big government is bad government. We couldn't agree more!

Who are we?

The Kentucky Club for Growth, a chapter of the national organization, is a group of citizens dedicated to expanding prosperity for working families through the Reagan doctrine of lower taxes, smaller government and strong free enterprise.

Why is the Kentucky Club for Growth needed?

The size and cost of government is going up, not down both nationally and here in the Commonwealth. It is time that conservatives gain control of government and demand fiscal discipline.

What will the Kentucky Club for Growth do?

The Kentucky Club for Growth will find, support and endorse candidates for elected office who are committed to free-market principles, lowering taxes, reducing spending and decreasing the size of government. Additionally, we will hold Frankfort accountable by monitoring legislation and providing scorecards to our members and the press after each legislative session.

Kentucky Club for Growth
Brian Richmond
Executive Director
phone: (859) 802-1736

November 11, 2006

What now for Republicans?

Jeff Flakes gives us the answer (paid subscription required) in the Wall Street Journal:

We might begin by asking why we lost. Taxes, first, is the easy one, and there is no need for a Republican mea culpa here. We've cut taxes, and Americans and the economy are better off for it. But recently we've been satisfied with putting Democrats "on record" supporting higher taxes. We need to do more. We will soon be bumping up against the deadlines to either repeal or extend the Bush tax cuts on income, estates, capital gains and dividends. This presents an excellent opportunity to rebuild momentum. Our congressional leadership should travel around the country -- concert tour style -- explaining why individuals spend their money better than the government.

Second, spending. This one is more difficult because it requires not just a mea culpa but abject apology. Not the politician-style -- "I'm sorry if you were offended by spending that our opponents have misinterpreted as offensive" -- but rather: "We've overspent, badly, and it was offensive to you as well as our conservative principles. We're sorry, and we're going to do better."

It is not only the level of spending, of course, that has been offensive. It is the manner of spending. Pork-barrel earmarks, or "member projects" (as we preferred to call them so as not to offend our own sensibilities), greatly multiplied under Republican rule. The Democrats were happy as long as enough crumbs fell from the Republican appropriators' table. Now that we are in the minority, will we be similarly satisfied or will we seek to change the practice?

On this issue, our constituents need no convincing. They know it is wrong. We need the courage to enact meaningful reforms, doubly difficult because of the present situation. But if we are chastened -- we ought to be -- perhaps we will emerge stronger for it. If Republicans are serious about changing direction, there will be ample opportunities in the next two years to translate our dormant beliefs into action.


November 10, 2006

Lou Dobbs lectures

Lou Dobbs, once referred to as a "blithering idiot" by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, gives a lecture to everyone who believes the conclusions drawn by most economists about minimum wages:
Calling out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and The Heritage Foundation by name, Dobbs lectured, “these people had better understand something that’s clear.” Dobbs said this was another battle in his almost trademarked “War on the Middle Class” on the November 8 “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”

“When the voters go to the trouble of an initiative…and say business is just pushing way too hard against the interests, the common good [of] working men and women,” continued Dobbs, that shows how important the issue is to “middle class Americans.”
The fact is that minimum wage laws do tend to hurt the very people the laws are meant to help: the young, poor and unskilled.

Mike Pence for House Minority Leader

Although the Kentucky Club for Growth will only be involved in the Kentucky political process, we believe it is imperative that Mike Pence become Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives. The National Club for Growth has endorsed Rep. Pence because they know that he will lead the charge back to conservative principles in Washington.

The real issue of hazard pay for social workers

Kentucky Progress has a take on whether social workers should get hazard pay:
At issue if whether we are just throwing money at the problem or actually trying to solve it. Adding them to the hazardous duty category only changes eligibility for a full pension from twenty seven years of service to twenty years. Social workers are unarmed and often walk into dangerous situations without a police escort. They say that when they do have police support on a call, the officer stands behind the social worker. Making them hazardous duty employees does nothing to alleviate the physical risks. It just pays them more for enduring the risks and pays them from a woefully insufficient pool of funds.
This year's bills relating to hazardous duty. The bill KYP refers to is here.

November 8, 2006

What surplus?

Gov. Ernie Fletcher expects a surplus of $278-million. Where did it come from?

It came from Fletcher and Kentucky's General Assembly deciding to finance current spending with long-term debt.

In other words, Kentucky has taken a cash advance on the state's credit card. Now that Fletcher has got the cash, he wants to spend it to get as much short-term political gain as possible, even asking, "Whoever runs for governor should put forward a plan" for spending the money.

The surplus, in short, is illegitimate. Wherever possible, the money should be used to pay back the state's recently-acquired debt.

November 7, 2006

Young voters

“Poll Suggests Young Voters Could Sway Election Results”
If 18-to-24-year-olds actually do what they say they’ll do on Tuesday, they could sway the results in close races and set a record turnout for young voters in a midterm election, a new national poll suggests. The survey of 2,546 young people, all U.S. citizens, found that 32 percent “definitely” plan to vote next week. The previous record turnout for a midterm election was set in 1982, when nearly 27 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds voted. “What we’re seeing leading up to this election is continued engagement on the part of those young people,” says Jeanne Shaheen, director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, whose findings were released Wednesday. “Since Sept. 11 and the 2004 elections, more of these young people say politics is relevant to their lives and there’s an increased likelihood we think they will in fact turn out.” Almost three-quarters surveyed are registered to vote; 60 percent say they follow national politics closely and 35 percent consider themselves to be politically engaged. Their political party identification includes 35 percent Democrats, 27 percent Republicans and 39 percent independents.

November 5, 2006

Hiding from vouchers?

In Utah, GOP Candidates remain vague when it comes to school vouchers. Why?

Hazard pay for social workers?

House Bill 52 (Expand definition of 'hazardous duty' for state workers): Introduced by Rep. C.B. Embry, Jr on January 2, 2007, to change the definition of a hazardous position to include positions classified in the social services series that involve child protective services investigations or ongoing face-to-face contact with families whose children have been placed in the custody of the cabinet.

Here's what your legislators make

How much do Kentucky lawmakers get per day? According to the National Conference of State Legislaures, it's $170.17 per calendar day. Lawmakers also get a $100 per diem for travel and committee meetings beyond the legislative session.

Fletcher expects $278.9 million surplus - by Jack Brammer, Lexington Herald-Leader

November 4, 2006

Unemployment lowest in 5 years - By Jeannine Aversa, Associated Press

Political group taking on state - by Stephenie Steitzer, Kentucky Post

Minimum Wage!

Minimum Wage Hikes could be coming in 2007. Here's a roundup:
Increase Kentucky minimum wage by 17%
Increase Kentucky minimum wage 41% by 2009
Raise Kentucky's minimum wage 36% by 2008
Increase Kentucky minimum wage 41% by 2009

November 1, 2006

Tax Me More!

Hey, if you want to pay more in taxes, why shouldn't you be able to?

House Bill 47 (Create 'tax-me-more' fund): Introduced by Rep. David Floyd on January 2, 2007, to establish the tax-me-more account within the state general fund to receive voluntary contributions from individuals and entities that believe they are undertaxed. The bill would require the Finance and Administration Cabinet to promulgate administrative regulations to establish a contribution process. The billl would require the Department of Revenue to provide an opportunity for taxpayers to make contributions with their income tax payments. The billl would require that amounts in the fund be appropriated by the General Assembly as part of the biennial budget process.

11/30/06 : A constitutional amendment to reduce lawmaker accountability?

11/05/06 : Hazard pay for social workers?

11/04/06 : Minimum Wage!

11/01/06 : Tax Me More!

Club for Growth eyes spending - by Patrick Crowley, The Enquirer

Political group taking on state - by Stephenie Steitzer, Kentucky Post

Ky. minimum wage fight likely - editorial, The Enquirer...

A brisk rise in American Wages - By Mark Trumbull, The Christian Science Monitor...

Fletcher expects $278.9 million surplus - by Jack Brammer, Lexington Herald-Leader...

Unemployment lowest in 5 years - By Jeannine Aversa, Associated Press...

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The KY Club for Growth seeks principled candidates who are committed to the following:

* Free market principles
* Lowering taxes
* Reducing spending
* Decreasing the size of government
* Judicial reform
* Protecting property rights
* Expanding school choice
* Reducing needless regulation

We will hold endorsed candidates accountable for these principles by monitoring each candidate on a vote-by-vote basis. As a Club member, you will receive candidate monitoring updates and scorecards on a regular basis. Join us today.