We're Off This Week
We're off this week, but will still post once a day. Check back next Wednesday for our return!
September 30, 2009
We're Off This Week
We're off this week, but will still post once a day. Check back next Wednesday for our return!
September 29, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
September 28, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
The Bluegrass Airport Board of Directors finally has a new member
Economic indicators weak for construction
Louisville mayor candidate Jim King has a lot of consultants
People not buying as many cars without free taxpayer money
Nuclear plant may be built in Paducah
Crazy liberal Leonard Pitts loves Tom Delay's gyrations
September 25, 2009
Nut Keeling Proposes $60,000/year For Part-Time Job
In a recent editorial, Larry Dale Keeling proposes changing the way we pay our legislators in Frankfort. He is in full form with his typically-backwards liberal reasoning.
His begins the discussion quoting Senate President David Williams who explains how some legislators abuse the system:
"The guidelines say you get paid a per diem on your travel days," Williams said. "Let's say there's an opening reception on a Tuesday. They'll want to travel in on Monday and get paid for the day before the conference starts and then go to a reception the next day."
Williams, Keeling and we all recognize that such activity is an abuse of the system. Where Keeling veers off into the fantasyland in which he typically resides is his proposed solution to legislators abusing the system: a massive pay increase so that legislators would no longer have incentive to abuse the system:
Since salaried legislators wouldn't be able to pad their pay by adding extra days to official trips, they might shorten their trips (and reduce the attendant cost of lodging and food) in the future.
This is akin to President Obama's proposal to spend $900 billion more dollars to "fix" the least-efficient health care system in the world.
We'll pay the cheaters more to encourage them not to cheat? How about just saying "No!" to the abuse? Same result--less costly to the taxpayers.
Next Keeling proposes this:
We need to pay legislators a salary commensurate with the demands we place on them. I would start that conversation at $60,000 a year, minimum, with a reasonable built-in cost-of-living increase.
$60,000 a year for a job that consumes 60 days a year plus maybe two days a month for eight months? $60,000 over four and a half months of work is equivalent to $160,000 annualized. For the record, that's four times Kentucky's median household income.
Besides, legislators are already eligible for an incredibly abusive retirement pension.
And, as Senator Worley demonstrated, there are plenty of perks to the job.
Later, he makes a fair point about the unjustness of allowing the same expense compensation regardless of the distance a legislator must travel to Frankfort. But mostly, he leaves us wondering as always: does he actually think about the things he publishes?
Friday, September 25, 2009
September 24, 2009
Worley Scolded By Ethics Commission
"The law provides no penalty for the appearance of impropriety, but if it did, the respondent could well be penalized on the facts before us," the commission wrote in its order. "In the future, the respondent must be more careful in conducting his private business in ways in which he might appear to be using his public office. He has assured the commission that he will."
Despite the lecture, Worley remained oblivious to our disgust with his profiting from funding that he voted for:
"The perception was created by (the Herald-Leader)," said Worley, who owns construction and development companies. "We were totally comfortable that we had done nothing improper or unethical."
No, Ed. The perception is created when you personally benefit from legislation you participate in making. It has nothing to do with you operating within inadequate ethics rules. It has nothing to do with what your political opponents say. It has nothing to do with the media.
There is no way to present that situation to make taxpayers feel good about it, because we all know that it's just another part of the Good-Ol'-Boy system separating the taxpayers from their earnings for the benefit of a connected few.
Stimulus Efficiency: Spending More To Do Less
In Ashland, KY, the Ashland Housing Authority is spending over $1 million to improve a couple of buildings it owns.
The capital grant will also go toward the cost of renovating and converting 10 units into five larger, ADA compliant units, according to Young.
Many of the renovations mentioned in the article -- like asbestos removal -- make sense. But the end result is five fewer affordable housing apartments to offer.
So the end result of spending over $600,000 in stimulus and over $400,000 in other federal transfer payments is that there will be five fewer opportunities for affordable housing.
How much more will it cost taxpayers to build five new ones when advocates start saying that 'there is a greater need for affordable housing and less opportunity'? It's a vicious cycle of spending.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
September 23, 2009
Jefferson County Educators Stand Up For Their Rights
Four educators in Jefferson County are suing the Jefferson County Teachers Association for the right to not participate in or fund the union.
They are being backed in their case by National Right To Work.
From the release:
With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, several Jefferson County educators have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against local and national teacher unions for a series of schemes designed to force unwilling educators into full-dues paying union membership.
The lawsuit alleges that union officials routinely blocked membership resignations for years at a time, automatically enrolled new teachers in the union without their consent, and used a collective bargaining scheme to force county teachers to pay union dues.
Currently, teachers employed in Jefferson County are automatically enrolled as union members and forced to pay union dues unless they explicitly register an objection to JCTA union officials. Moreover, teachers are only permitted to resign from formal union membership during a ten day-window period after an individual teacher's contract is signed or after the union hierarchy agrees to a new contract with the local school board. If a teacher fails to register an objection to union membership within either period, he or she is forced to remain a union member until the expiration of the union's five-year contract with the local school board. Many teachers report that JCTA officials never informed them of their right to refrain from joining the union in the first place.
Foundation attorneys believe that any collective bargaining agreement that forces educators to pay union dues to keep their jobs is illegal under state law. Moreover, the Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent Abood v. Detroit Board of Education ensures that teachers and other public employees have the right to resign from union membership. Retaliation or discrimination against employees for deciding against belonging to a union is also illegal.
(Hat Tip: LHL)
October 10 Rally in NKY
The Northern Kentucky Tea Party is hosting a Take Back America rally on October 10, at the Boone County Fairgrounds from 2PM to 5PM.
From the website:
TAKE BACK AMERICA! RALLY
Saturday, Oct 10th
2 to 5pm at the Boone County Fairgrounds
Speakers (to be announced)
Town Hall Meeting ( submit a question for your representatives )
Vendors ( request a booth )
Event Staff Needed ( volunteer )
Federal Unemployment Deficit
McDermott in July introduced a more ambitious bill that would have extended through 2010 the compensation programs included in the stimulus act. Those benefits are now scheduled to expire at the end of this year.
But with a price tag of up to $70 billion, that bill would have been far more difficult to pass. McDermott instead decided to offer the scaled-down 13-week extension to meet the urgent needs of those seeing their benefits disappear this year.
McDermott said his bill would not add to the deficit because it would extend for a year a federal unemployment tax of $14 per employee per year that employers have been paying for more than 30 years.
Here we have some great examples of bad government!!!
First note that the bill extends a temporary tax, a tax that was scheduled to have been sunset sometime in the past 30 years!
If anyone ever questions the Kentucky Club for Growth's strong opposition to the creation of new taxes, this is the case in point. New taxes, even temporary ones, never die.
Second, this is an example of the tax and spend mindset that has led to disastrous deficits and debt.
While the bill itself is budget neutral, note that it proposes to pay for a 13-week program with a year-long tax. This 13 week extension will take four times that time to pay back. It doesn't add to the annual deficit, but that time delay is a "structural deficit."
The economy is weak, and we should recognize that, but not use it as an excuse for irresponsibility.
Wednesday, Spetember 23, 2009
September 22, 2009
Bill Clinton Doesn't Like Jim Bunning
From a Mother Jones report on the forthcoming book on Bill Clinton:
After the 1998 congressional elections, Clinton bemoaned the fact that GOP Rep. Jim Bunning had narrowly won a Senate seat in Kentucky. Branch writes, "He said Bunning, a former baseball player, was so mean-spirited that he repulsed even his fellow know-nothings. 'I tried to work with him a couple times,' said Clinton, 'and he just sent shivers up my spine....I know you're a baseball fan and everything, and you don't like to hear it, but this guy is beyond the pale.'"
We expect the feeling is mutual.
Economics Lesson From Horse Auctions
Fundamental principles of economics were behind a recent Courier-Journal article about depressed prices at Keeneland's September Yearling Sale.
Apparently, there are too many foals to be sold, and the oversupply is depressing the prices paid. And how's the market reacting? The supply is contracting as breeders react to the new lower yield:
During the first four days of the 14day sale -- a period when the finest horse are usually auctioned -- buyers spent 42.52 percent less on yearlings than last year. If the trend continues, the sale is shaping up to be the third straight September Sale to record lower gross sales, average prices and medians than the year before. It would be the first time since 1992 that those key financial measures fell for three straight years.
Case Clay, president of Three Chimneys Farm where Kentucky Derby winners Big Brown and Smarty Jones and Barbaro's sire Dynaformer are stallions, said stud fees likely will come down even more than they did this year.
Though the decline is already leading to fewer foals -- which eventually may set the stage for healthier sales-- industry leaders say this year's low prices may force some breeders out of business.
That's how the market works. Supply expands, prices drop. Companies cope with the lower price level prices by finding greater efficiencies in production or fail to compete. Input costs are controlled so that the new price level is sustainable and/or the supply reduces so that price increases.
It's good to know that Kentucky's horse markets are functioning well.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The state ventures further into the administration and ownership of gambling.
"Despite declining revenue and deep budget cuts, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet created a $79,656-a-year management job this summer for Jennifer Chandler, wife of U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles." Lexington Herald Leader
Recession drops wagering of all kinds
Boone county cancels event to honor 9-11
September 21, 2009
Sen. Worley Under Investigation
We noted back in July that State Senator Ed Worley (D-Richmond, 2008 Rank #31 -- last) had drawn a primary opponent based on some dubious buck passing to skirt ethics rules.
On the face of it, it seems that -- even if it complies with the letter of the law -- Worley is building a facility to lease back to the state, the lease paid for with funds he appropriated.
The law seems to allow this sort of transaction:
The ethics code, which is legally binding on state legislators, prohibits them from doing business with an executive-branch agency, including institutions of higher education, Wilhoit said, but not the judicial branch, including the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).
However, the code allows legislators to do business with cities, counties and local school boards, he said.
"I told Sen. Worley there was nothing that would prevent him from leasing to the county, and probably not even to the AOC," Wilhoit said when interviewed in July.
So the problem may not be with Worley's interpretation of the law, but with his complete lack of awareness about how it appears to the rest of us when he puts money in the budget for a project he himself profits from.
His ability in this case to be within the guidelines of the law points not to vindication as Worley insists: "I don't think there is any question that my involvement with this project is legally or ethically sound;" but that the law is bad and needs to be changed.
There can be little question that we non-legislators would have the same opportunity to build a project we funded with taxpayer resources.
Rep. Higdon Already Filed for Sen. Kelly's Seat?
So noted Leo Johnson, who in turn announced his candidacy for Higdon's seat in Kentucky's 24th District.
We put forward our analysis of the 14th Senate District back in July, noting that Rep. David Floyd was a better protector of the taxpayer and represented more voters in the 14th district than Rep. Higdon.
The 24th House District consists of Casey and Marion counties and part of Pulaski county. It is solidly Republican, with a solid base in the larger Casey county (McConnell 69 - Lunsford 31), although Marion leans Democratic having supported McCain 50-47, Lunsford 58-42 and State Sen. Boswell over US Rep. Brett Guthrie 65-35 on 2008. Pulaski is another solidly Republican county, but only a small part of Pulaski is in this district.
Monday, September 21, 2009
The Corbin Board of Education chooses lower tax rate and gets applause.
The Kentucky New Era reprints ridicule of Greg Stumbo.
Lexington Herald Leader lays the groundwork for charging for online access to articles
Liberals lament that they have no single person to beat up on in financial crisis
Banks actually starting to require good credit for loan approval
David Hawpe believes in the vast right-wing conspiracy
Coal creates 600 new jobs in Kentucky
September 17, 2009
Fayette County Schools Provide Taxpayers No Relief In Tough Economy
The spokesperson for the Kentucky School Board Association made a joke:
"Statewide, any increase has been far more a point of local contention and debate than in any year probably in the last decade," said Brad Hughes, spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association. "From a statewide perspective, there have been more people showing up at tax rate hearings than in any recent comparable year, according to the local news reports I have seen."
School boards often pass rate increases by unanimous votes. But Hughes said he's noticed many more split votes this year. He traces that to one central fact: "Absolutely, it's the economy," Hughes said.
Ok, it's not funny.
But even though the School Board Association recognizes the hardship Kentuckians face, the Fayette County School Board doesn't care.
The Fayette County Board of Education is considering a school tax-rate boost that would raise the district's revenues this year by the full 4 percent allowed by state law.
Statewide, public school districts -- particularly larger ones -- usually take the full 4-percent increase allowed by law because it's too hard to make up for the revenue loss in later years.
"Historically, that's what we've done," Wright said. "We have increasing inflationary costs that we're dealing with, and this kind of keeps us even with what we're trying to do."
Wouldn't want to pass up an opportunity for more revenue from the taxpayer, regardless of need...would we?
Jim Gray Hits A Couple Of Right Notes
Lexington Vice-Mayor Jim Gray, who has been know in the past to try to condemn private enterprises and not support private development on private property, has got a couple os issues right for the taxpayer this week.
First, he (along with Diane Lawless) called out the utility construction project on South Limestone as needlessly disruptive to the small businesses there:
Vice Mayor Jim Gray, who is in the construction business, said he had never seen a project that could not be improved or accelerated. "We need to explore how we can move this along faster. I'm not satisfied it can't be done," he said.
Limestone was closed July 22 as work started on the intersection of Limestone and Avenue of Champions. The intersection reopened Aug. 13, a week ahead of schedule and two weeks before UK students returned to class. The High Street and Limestone intersection opened five days ahead of schedule.
However, councilwoman Diana Lawless said the city is paying "an awful lot of premium money" for things ATS is not following through on, such as moving "giant bulldozers and trucks" off Limestone each night to a fenced parking lot, and storing materials off-site.
Next, he wondered why the board of the Bluegrass Airport would settle for being reimbursed for less than we are owed by corrupt former executive director Mike Gobb:
"Here we go again. This deal makes it clear that these boards lack the oversight that's needed to safeguard the people's money," Gray said.
Shortly after the first newspaper articles on the scandal were published, Gray called for the audit by Luallen's office as well as the resignation of then-airport board chairman Bernard Lovely. (Lovely completed his stint as board chairman but remains on the board.)
"I don't believe $20,000 adequately addresses this scandal," Gray said. The proposed agreement lacks transparency, he added. "How do we learn from our mistakes if they're swept under the rug and hidden from view?"
Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry had no comment.
A Gold Star for the Vice-Mayor
Thursday, September 19, 2009
City of Corbin to tax concerts and events.
Kentucky Judicial Branch cuts 47 jobs.
Carroll County taxes increase despite recession
Lexington School Board considers maximum tax hike
Large corn harvest to keep corn, pork prices low.
Three little pigs found. House Blown down?
September 16, 2009
Sunday Last Day to Vote
Sunday will be the last day to vote for August's Comrade Of the Month.
Be sure to go vote today!
Indiana Appeals Court Makes It Harder For Overweight People to Find a Job
From the Courier-Journal:
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a pizza shop must pay for weight-loss surgery for an obese employee to ensure the success of another operation for a back injury he suffered at work.
Boston's Gourmet Pizza cook Adam Childers of Schererville weighed 340 pounds when he was injured by a freezer door. Doctors said he needed back surgery, but it wouldn't be successful unless he had weight-loss surgery first.
By ruling that the company is responsible medical claims related to the employee's weight, every company that hires an overweight individual will be potentially on the hook for a significantly greater expense. While it is not fair to overweight individuals, companies will have a significantly greater incentive to avoid these costs. The message from the Indiana Court of Appeals is clear: don't hire workers who are overweight.
September 15, 2009
One Problem With Education In Kentucky Is Opponents Of Achievement
A recent episode and article regarding the JCPS serves to highlight a problem faced by education systems nationwide: there are just some parents and administrators who oppose achievement.
At issue is a pointless effort by the Jefferson County School Board to ban for-profit entities from using school facilities. While it may make sense to draw a line against marketing to children in classrooms, what purpose can possibly be served by forbidding "individual or commercial groups from using school facilities to promote their financial interest."
If the public can find some use for the facilities outside of the school day that can generate more funds for education, that's good right?
In this case, it didn't just ban a source of income for the district, it banned enrichment opportunities for kids:
As a result, several schools canceled or postponed popular programs that had been offered for years at some schools, teaching topics ranging from science and martial arts to yoga and dance.
The controversy was that these programs charged a fee.
Linda Duncan, who represents District 5, was the sole board member to oppose the policy change, saying it would discriminate against students from low-income families who couldn't afford the fees charged for the programs.
"I am fundamentally opposed to having for-profits use our facilities to provide programs only to kids who are able to pay the fees or have transportation home from (the programs)," Duncan said.
So instead of investigating ways to find more opportunities for every child, Duncan pushed to shut it down for everyone. What a spoil-sport.
If the fee and transportation is a barrier to children in lower income households, Ms. Duncan should look into scholarships and transportation programs. That would be real leadership.
We have long struggled in this country with the problem of ensuring equal educational opportunity for every child. A low income household can create difficulties in realizing the same opportunity that other children have. But we assure you, closing down an opportunity for everyone for the sake of equity is not how growth is achieved!
Instead of building a speed bump into a wall, as Ms. Duncan would, she should work on eliminating the speed bump.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Obama scolds Wall Street like a condescending parent (the tone is just awkward)
Louisville Bridges to be ceremoniously negotiated
Caleb Smith interviews Paul campaign manager David Adams
Pictures of Boone County politicians at Old Fashioned Days
"Bo Duke" appearing at ChickenFest
September 14, 2009
Corruption That's Par For The Course
Jake over at Page One Kentucky has posted an editorial from the News-Express that is required reading.
Often we are faced with questions about dubious behavior from our elected officials, actions that trespass against common-sense so greatly we find them fantastic and difficult to believe.
Like this one:
He said it wasn't a legislator, those people we elect to represent us in government and make the decisions which influence our lives. But beyond that, he said he had no clue who it was that changed the laws.
He shrugged off the matter, as well, saying "I didn't think there was anything to it. If I would've known there was going to be this much controversy about it, we obviously would have done something different."
Stumbo's admission that he nonchalantly allowed a lobbyist so unimportant that he cannot even recall the person to change state law is shocking and offensive.
But this is a character trait of Mr. Stumbo that is well-known. Yet, Democrats were begging him to lead them in the House, because they wouldn't differentiate between leadership with a purpose and self-interested leadership. (In contrast, House Republicans do not seem to be power-hungry in any way.)
The City of Louisville has put some of its checkbook online for you to peruse at www.louisvillecheckbook.com.
There, you can find out things like the 12th council district of Rick Blackwell expended the most operating funds.
It's a fun tool, but not very comprehensive. As Councilman Doug Hawkins pointed out, it does not give information on city payroll, which he says is 65% of the budget. He also added that "it does not show how Cordish spent $950,000 that the mayor gave to them unconditionally."
Give it a click, and if you see anything interesting, shot us an e-mail.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Lack of action by Governor on Unemployment Insurance leads to No Good Options.
Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will fund walking horse breeds.
Texting while driving may be banned.
Keeneland sales likely to struggle as the economy continues to weaken.
FDA in a rush to greatly restrict tobacco products.
St. John's Picnic brings out US Senate candidates.
London City Council will allow smoking at World Chicken Festival (home of the world's largest skillet).
September 11, 2009
Another Blatant Recognition Of The Failure Of Kentucky's Tax Code
Our legislators are constantly enacting policies that inherently recognize the fact that Kentucky's tax code makes our commonwealth an unattractive place to live or to run a business.
Back in March we lamented the Christmas tree of tax incentives that was attempted in the regular session:
This incredibly long list is a blatant admission that Kentucky's tax system is burdensome to job creation. If your legislators think such a long list of exemptions is necessary to attract businesses to Kentucky, they should also realize the corollary idea that Kentucky's tax system is currently unattractive to new business: if our tax system worked, they wouldn't be working so hard to change it for their favorites in the name of economic development.
In June, we were surprised the Speaker Stumbo recognized that cutting taxes can create jobs:
House Speaker Greg Stumbo explains that reducing taxes will generate commerce:
Most lawmakers dismissed predictions of future budget woes, saying the new programs would stimulate the economy and produce more tax revenue over the long haul. "If you weigh the impact of the whole package, it's very small in terms of the overall budget and it could be very large in getting us out of this recession," said House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.
Yesterday, Governor Beshear recognized that providing tax relief can encourage people to move to Kentucky, when he visited Ft. Campbell to ceremonially sign the income tax exemption for active duty military:
"The courage of soldiers is a huge debt we can never fully repay," Beshear said. "If this persuades a soldier to make Kentucky home rather than a neighboring state, then good, but we are really doing this to say thank you."
Now let's see them get behind real tax reform that will relieve the tax burden on Kentucky families and businesses.
Aren't There Alot Of Things We Need More Than Legislators?
From the Carroll News-Democrat
Friday, September 11, 2009
September 10, 2009
Ultimate Question of the Day 9/10/09
If Sen. Dan Kelly is appointed out of the Senate, why won't taxpayer champion Rep. David Floyd (2008 rank: #4) run?
More Liberal Insanity From the Herald-Leader Editorial Board
They don't like tax cuts, even when we can afford them. How horrible it is to give income back to the citizens of Lexington!
Here's the story: For several years, our local government has been saving money to build a new recycling center so we can send less trash to landfills and recycle more.
That fund has ballooned recently because the city has put off buying some new equipment for solid waste and over 50 jobs in the division are vacant.
The fund balance, as savings are called in government, now stands at $24 million.
Good governance. What's next?
It will shrink to about $11 million after the department buys 29 new trucks and equipment for the current recycling center. Recently, the city bought acreage for the new recycling center on Old Frankfort Pike.
So there's a large surplus, even after planned expenditures.
So, what does the editor think is the danger of returning surplus money to the citizens?
They fear that the cash won't be on hand should the government decide to spend it. The recycling plant, which will create further savings for the city is not yet built.
But if the fund is "ballooning" because of a set of conditions that haven't changed -- vacant positions unfilled -- and the land and equipment for the center are already accounted for, there shouldn't be any harm in budgeting for a predictable cost - construction - and returning to taxpayers a portion of the surplus.
But it seems like this tax cut -- equal to about two pizzas annually -- will do more to enhance the political careers of a few than to balance the budgets of many or to improve a critical government service.
The editor would do well to praise the efficiency the city has reached, rather than invoke their liberal cynicism against returning the people their money.
Busting The Unemployment Fund With a Task Force
The title of this post is present tense. "Busting" makes it sound as if we are currently solvent, when in fact we are not.
Governor Beshear noted this back in January when he created a task force to deal with the insolvency of the fund. The task force is not due to make recommendations until October.
Meanwhile, the state has borrowed over $360,000 from the feds, and has to borrow more every week:
But the state's trust fund indebtedness is likely to grow, according to Dr. Wayne Vroman of the Urban Institute. He told the task force Wednesday by teleconference that the state could find itself short by as much as $1 billion over the next several years.
That's because the state takes in about $700,000 in taxes annually on employers but has been paying out around $1.2 billion in benefits since the prolonged economic downturn began. Kentucky must pay back the federal debt - or the Federal Unemployment Tax on employers automatically increases to pay back the federal government.
When the task force was created in January, we scolded the Governor's love of task forces, because the legislature was in session and action was necessary:
Beshear is once again showing his love for more government by creating a task force, but the legislature is in session now. Kentucky needs a new system, and there are 47 models of better ones.
While the Governor has waited nine months to fix the system, he has not hesitated to worsen the problem. Just yesterday he asked to extend benefits again.
In the middle of this rough economy, choices are tough. But while the Governor waits on a task force, Kentucky's debt is growing.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
September 9, 2009
Ultimate Question Of The Day 9/9/09
Back in 2001, President Bush moved the Patients Bill of Rights to the House Floor by personally reaching a deal with one of the main sponsors of the opposition plan: Rep. Charlie Norwood.
Who in the genuine opposition has this President reached out to?
The Tax Increase Is Really Something Else, City Manager Says
Corbin City Manager Ed Cannon doesn't know a tax increase when he sees it. The Times Tribune reports:
Corbin city commissioners voted Friday morning to set 2009 property tax rates at 26.7 cents per $100 of value.
During the second reading of the tax ordinance, which means the rates now take effect, commissioners approved a rate that's an increase of 1.02 cents per $100 of assessed value over last year.
Even though the rate is higher than last year's -- and even though property owners will be paying slightly more in taxes to the city -- City Manager Bill Ed Cannon claimed the city hasn't raised taxes.
"We did not raise taxes, we took the compensating tax rate," he said.
So...it's not a tax increase, it just raises the amount that everyone pays to the government.
How ridiculous. What is it with City Mangers?
How Was Ellis Park's Daily Wagering This Meet? Up, We Think.
It's tough to discern. Here's one news article:
Attendance is up close to 15 percent, and Geary, who expects to have final figures for the meet by midweek, said the handle "is doing pretty good." Those are the positive signs for fans and horsemen alike.
Here's a second article:
"I really have not made up my mind yet and I'm obviously torn," Geary said in a phone interview Tuesday night after the meet statistics were released.
During the meet, average daily wagering dropped 17 percent...
Here's another section of the same article:
Amid the possibility that this year's racing would be the last at Ellis, the average daily wagering on track posted a 16.7 percent gain, averaging $205,646 compared to last year's $176,195.
Attendance increased 22.4 percent with an average of 3,698.
Well, we're stumped.
Overall, it seems there were fewer racing days, higher wagering and higher attendance. And it sounds like an improved business model:
Besides cutting the number of races, Ellis scheduled more turf races - capitalizing on the lack of a grass course at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Indiana - resulting in the average number of starters in each race increasing 21 percent to 9.2.
It's never amazing what a little innovation can do....
The Problem With Our Legislators' Trip to Philly
Today, the Herald-Leader reported that Kentucky legislators spent over $135,000 traveling to and participating in a conference in Philadelphia.
We are concerned that there is no reporting deadline for legislators to file expenses, and we think the public would be served if this information was made available online. After all, the expenses incurred by individual legislators for the trips that they take may be judged appropriate or inappropriate by their constituents.
The real problem is identified in this paragraph in the middle of the article:
The legislative budget is not hurting. Last year, while lawmakers told Gov. Steve Beshear to cut $230 million from the executive branch's $9.1 billion budget, they fattened their own budget by 13 percent over the next two years, taking it up to $55.6 million in 2010.
That's right. When we read about 4% budget cuts, it does not apply to the legislative budget.
The budget for the legislative branch has grown substantially over the last few budgets, and 2008 was no exception. While the rest of state government was cut, the Legislative Budget grew 13%.
Who in Kentucky could think that was appropriate? Well, most of the legislature.
We included the legislative budget on our 2008 Scorecard, and here's the complete list of legislators who took a stand against ridiculous legislative spending (and their 2008 rank):
Rep. Addia Wuchner, Boone Co. (#1)
Rep. Brad Montell, Shelby and Spencer Cos. (#5)
Rep. Kevin Bratcher, Jefferson Co. (#6)
Rep. Jim DeCesare, Warren Co. (#7)
Rep. Bill Farmer, Fayette Co. (#10)
Rep. Danny Ford, Lincoln, Rockcastle and Pulaski Cos. (#24)
Rep Jimmy Lee, Hardin Co. (#73)
It's easy to fall in line with your leadership who threaten pork projects in your district if you step out of line. Kudos to these seven for their principles.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Lawmakers use $165,000 taxdollars on PA trip. (That's 20% of a Disney movie.)
KACo pins strip-club charges on Spencer County CJE David Jenkins.
H-L says haste is the best method to destroy large parts of our economy.
Wagering at Ellis Park is down like every other gambling establishment in the country.
Osi says it's time for Jefferson Davis to leave the Capitol.
Beshear is helping Dr. Dan raise funds for Senate.
Bootlegging in Corbin.
September 8, 2009
Kentucky Waits For Cash For Clunkers II
Apparently, Kentucky is waiting for its allowance from Daddy Fed Stimulus to help Kentuckians buy 10,000 new refrigerators (or other appliances).
If you are thinking of buying a dishwasher, furnace, air conditioner unit or other major home appliance, you may be able to get a rebate from the state of Kentucky of between $20 to $400 before the holiday shopping season.
The report states that Kentucky is eligible for $4 million, which at $400 a rebate equates to 10,000 appliances, or about one new appliance for one out of every 150 households in Kentucky.
While this beats crime-victim payments as a source of economic stimulus, it's still deficit spending.
From the Heritage Foundation.
Someone At KACo Gets It
Gallenstein said KACo's offers many benefits to counties, and that its programs have been "a Godsend for county government," but that spending had gotten out of hand. Gallenstein said Arnold did a good job, but it was his job to watch expenditures.
"It's not all his fault, but when you're sitting in the big chair ... you have to answer for the wrong doings," Gallenstein said.
Fortunately, some on the board want to see real justice done:
Fleming County Judge-Executive Larry Foxworthy said Arnold's resignation was a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done. He said if a similar situation occurred on the county level, restitution would be expected, or an indictment would come down.
"There's no reason for them not to be held accountable the same as county officials are held accountable," he said.
A Gold Star for Judge Foxworthy.
Want to See How your City Spends?
You can if you live in Corbin, thanks to FreedomKentucky.org.
The Bluegrass Institute, a free-market think tank based in Kentucky, recently unveiled its new database at Freedomkentucky.org, which contains a growing list of check registers and annual budgets for cities, school districts and other government agencies throughout the state.
So far, Freedom Kentucky has only tackled annual expenses for four cities -- but Corbin is among them.
Other cities already up include Edgewood, Jeffersontown and Paducah.
It's disappointing that this spending information isn't more available voluntarily from the cities themselves, but a big Gold Star to the Bluegrass Institute for starting to put this together.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
September 7, 2009
Vote For August's Comrade of the Month
Make sure to put in your vote for the Comrade of the Month for July and August!
This month's nominees:
Comrade of the Month page.
- State Rep. Darryl Owens
- Bob Arnold and KACo
- Charlie Borders
- Larry Klein, Covington City Manager
- Steve and Jane Beshear
- Randy Overstreet, KRS Board Chairman
September 4, 2009
The Sixth Nominee for July/August Comrade of the Month: KRS Board Chairman Randy Overstreet
Our final nominee for Comrade of the Month is an apologist for malfeasance. Not that he condones it, but Mr. Overstreet does not seem to have the proper regard for his role as guardian of taxdollars.
This month, an audit of KRS determined that there was a failure to do simple research, funds were misused and improperly mingled, and there were huge conflicts of interest on one recent transaction. To top it off, KRS board members said that they were stonewalled in their attempts to gather information.
Sounds pretty awful, right?
Here's what Chairman Overstreet had to say about it:
It would be unfair to tarnish the pension system because of "a one-of-a-kind issue," Overstreet added.
This is serious wrongdoing that raises serious doubts about the operations of KRS, a trusteeship of large amounts of taxdollars that is ultimately backed by Kentucky taxpayers.
These activities demand an examination of the system, not a washing of the hands, Mr. Overstreet. His callousness has earned him his nomination as Comrade of the Month.
Friday, September 4, 2009
State education leader urges schools to provide alternative to Obama speech - Herald Leader
State of IL to Move Forward with Layoffs - AP
Berea school tax to raise revenue 4 percent - Richmond Register
City looks for ways to climb out of debt - Richmond Register
Corbin to vote on property tax changes- Times Tribune (Corbin)
Ky. Sen. president critical of Beshear job offers - AP
Schools turn to private partnerships - NKY.com
Whitley County holds first-ever Tourism Board meeting - Times Tribune
Berea examines utilities board - Richmond Register
Kenny Brown picks up endorsements - NKY.com Boone Blog
September 3, 2009
The Fifth Nominee for July/August Comrade of the Month: Steve and Jane Beshear
Since we combined two months, we're expanding our typical four-nominee field to six...
One of the horrible results of Governor Beshear's disastrous special session was the creation of a taxpayer giveaway to Hollywood. The Herald-Leader explained in July:
The tax credit is expected to cost Kentucky $15 million in its first year and $13.4 million the following year, according to the Legislative Research Commission.
The credit is applied against a film company's corporate income tax, but it's possible for a company to garner credits that are worth more than its tax bill. If that happens, the state must cut a check for the difference.
Also, there's no guarantee that tax revenue from the additional jobs spawned by the tax credit will pay for the program.
In Massachusetts, a recent study found that the state got less than $1 in additional revenue for every $5 it spent on film tax breaks.
It did not take long for Hollywood to jump at free taxpayer money. In August we learned that Kentuckians promised to give the Disney corporation $800,000 of state revenues:
The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority approved an application for the film "Secretariat," from Fast Track Productions, Inc., a subsidiary of Disney Studios, about the 1973 Triple Crown winner.
Fast Track Productions' application projected $4 million in expenditures, meaning the production is eligible for $800,000 in tax credits.
Why do we know this? Because the Governor and his wife bragged about it:
"This is a great way to kick off Kentucky's new film incentive package," said Gov. Steve Beshear.
"Films like 'Secretariat' will offer Kentucky communities and small businesses a great opportunity when it comes to film production," said First Lady Jane Beshear, who testified in support of the film incentives.
Short of spending the entire sum on cigarettes, there is no way that a $4 million investment can net more than $300,000 in taxes paid. Kentucky taxpayers are subsidizing Mickey Mouse to the tune of half-a-million dollars, and Steve and Jane Beshear love it! They are the original Mousketeers!
The Fourth Nominee for July/August Comrade of the Month: Covington City Manager Larry Klein
Earlier this month, Larry Klein presented a 'teachable moment' to us all when he proposed a 11% tangible property tax hike that would punish Covington small businesses. He proposed the tax hike despite the fact that the city was experiencing better revenues than the council had budgeted for originally.
His reasoning for the tax hike clearly demonstrated that his priorities place government above economic development:
Klein is recommending the city increase its rate from the existing rate of $299.50 per $100,000 of real-estate value to $332.90. That would be an increase of 11.2 percent. But Covington has infrastructure and equipment needs, and its budget this year also makes no allowances for employee raises, Klein noted.
One section of city revenue dips and his first concern is whether city employees will get raises.
Klein's "government first" attitude earned him his nomination for Comrade of the Month.
The Third Nominee for July/August Comrade of the Month: Charlie Borders
Former state senator Charlie Borders was not one of the more reliable votes in the Senate against tax and spending, earning scores of 61 in 2006 and 71 in 2007.
In August, he showed his true disregard for Kentucky taxpayers -- as well as his constituents -- by choosing to beef up his taxpayer-funded state pension by accepting an appointment from the Governor.
The main element of the bill allows legislators to base their legislative pensions on the average of their highest three years of taxable income in local or state government jobs after (or before) their legislative service.
The 2005 "reciprocity bill" enriches legislators so much it makes the 1982 "greed bill" pale in comparison. And it handed the office of the governor a new tool that he and all future governors can use to sway legislators on votes and even to resign their seats, as former Sen. Charlie Borders did last month.
Not only did he enrich himself, his resignation ensured that Kentucky taxpayers would get hosed. His resignation allowed one of Frankfort's biggest tax-and-spenders to be elected in his place.
We suppose self-interest is a necessary element of capitalism, but such profiting at taxpayer expense earns Charlie Borders his nomination as Comrade of the Month.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
In a down economy, community colleges thrive - Herald Leader
Florence to hold tax rates steady - NKY.com
Some county employees received much more than 3-percent raise - Richmond Register
Kentucky Supreme Court hears arguments on parole credit - Ronnie Ellis
State Fair attendance up 6 percent - Courier-Journal
Crowd challenges health reform at Louisville town hall - Courier-Journal
Chandler vague on health care reform - Herald Leader
Global warming? Late August weather felt pretty fine - Steve Austin
Williams says Beshear 'poisoning' political process - Herald Leader
Tea Party likely to attract thousands - Cincinnati Enquirer
Where'd Wednesday Go?
Technical issues kept us dark yesterday. We apologize.
September 1, 2009
The Second Nominee for July/August Comrade of the Month: Bob Arnold and KACo
For the second month in a row, the Kentucky Association of Counties is nominated as Comrade of the Month.
Last month, KACo was nominated because of their complete lack of common sense, caught spending taxpayer dollars at strip club and in other inappropriate ways; actions that brought them widespread condemnation.
This month, KACo and their clueless leader Bob Arnold are nominated because of their ridiculous answer to these public concerns: hire a consultant.
Not only have they wasted taxpayer money, they are remedying the problem by wasting more money to hire someone to help their organization figure out what is common-sense to the rest of us: don't spend public or corporate money at strip clubs.
We wrote that KACo needs to get a clue, and we stand by it.
The First Nominee for July/August Comrade of the Month: Darryl Owens
As you may recall, Representative Owens earlier this month praised $2.2 million of deficit spending to build sidewalks as "helping 20 small businesses". We wrote at the time:
Good thing we're paying $100 million a day in interest on the national debt for economic development like that! Icky sidewalks were the one thing standing in between the success and failure of those small businesses. When's the last time you were out running errands and were about to patronize a shop until you looked at the sidewalk in front of it and decided it might be too dangerous for you to go that way? Yesterday? This morning?
Now, if you gave each of those small businesses a $110,000 tax break, each could hire, say, 2.5 new employees. That would create jobs and have the same direct impact on the budget. Indirectly, it would have considerably less impact on the budget because it would create 50 new taxpayers.
His seeming complete lack of awareness of what would actually help a small business succeed has earned his nomination for Comrade of the Month.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Counties' jail suit against state dismissed The Richmond Register
Bowling Green's to-do list is long Bowling Green Daily News
Spending scandals handled differently AP
KACo, KLC taking own paths to reform Herald Leader
Juvenile detention facility to close Herald Leader
School choice would bring quality -- and accountability Jim Waters (Times Tribune)
Pullin honored for small business efforts The Independent (Ashland)
Webb sworn in as senator The Independent
Digging trenches a waste of money Merlene Davis (H-L)
2009: A year of incentives Rep. John Tilley (New Era)
New Feature - Headlines
We at the Kentucky Club for Growth blog, always interested in mimicking our national affiliate, have decided to begin issuing morning headlines. Each morning, we'll round up stories about Kentucky's economy, government and politics from around the state. We hope you find this a useful service.