Kentucky Club for Growth
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November 30, 2009

A Demonstration of Economic Freedom

We at the Club for Growth always maintain that the remedy for chronic budget deficits is to reduce spending and increase economic freedom.

It is not often that we can point to a clear-cut example.

Today in our headlines we linked to this story form the AP:

Alcohol sales bring fresh revenue to Lancaster

The city of Lancaster in central Kentucky has received about $45,000 in new revenue from so called "sin taxes" a year after voters approved alcohol sales. The Danville Advocate-Messenger reported that Lancaster expects to take in $150,000 from the 2.25 percent tax on liquor and 3.25 percent tax on alcohol by the drink by the time the fiscal year ends June 30.

Lancaster Mayor Don Rinthen says the money comes from new restaurants and stores taking advantage of the now-legal alcohol sales, but that the money was never intended to be a savior for the local economy.

While we are not advocates of specialty taxes, here is a clear example of how greater freedom for citizens increased commerce which, in turn, generated government revenues.

Now Lancaster has a real opportunity to use this new revenue to offset and reduce other taxes, making the city even more attractive to job creation and multiplying the impact on economic development....right?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Five Myths about Black Monday and holiday shopping

Promoting entrepreneurship among rural students

More economic freedom generates commerce, government revenue

Lawmakers get pension perks

Humana prepares for Obamacare cuts

Blowing hard about wind energy

"I cannot imagine that even after 42 years as a Lexingtonian that I would be this excited about horse manure," Kentucky Finance Secretary Jonathan Miller said.

Coal severance funds misspent

Senate 14 reports

November 25, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

More local office filings in Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Greenup and Lawrence...

...Fleming, Lewis, Mason, Bracken and Robertson

KY Supreme Court backs prisoner release

Joe Meyer named education secretary

November 24, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Slow news day

Collins to run against Coursey in House 6

Broughton new Knox Chamber president

White House reports health bill will provide health insurance for 45,000 Kentuckians with income over 400% of the federal poverty level

New highway opens in Murray

Richmond considers no paid lunches, 911 tax hike

Beshear says he's got no money

November 23, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

State budget cuts impact prosecutors

Keeneland sales down, not as bad as spring

Louisville Metro Council works on ethics

David Voegele to run for Oldham CJE

Student governments push to lower drinking age

Flaig says Moore's support from outside county

Charitable gaming reform continues push

Montell pushes bill to exempt students for state tournaments

November 20, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

State Chamber identifies three unsustainable spending trends

Sewer fees in Lexington skyrocket

Senate debate is feisty...

...Paul revises website

Unemployment at 11.2%

HL calls Governor Beshear out

Asbury College becoming Asbury University

Harley plant becoming just a dream...

Hinkle Contracting helps clean up Kentucky

44 candidates in Laurel, 24 in Knox

Indiana state government laps Kentucky government in efficiency

Coal company heavily supports Democrats

Madison Clerk disputes allegations of fraud

November 19, 2009

Another Take On Expanded Gambling And The Free Market

Michael Maharrey of the Lexington Liberty Examiner writes of gambling proposals, and our government's penchant for picking economic winners and losers:

The current gambling proposals reveal a deeply imbedded mentality permeating politics - the belief that government should choose economic winners and losers. And industries spend lavishly to influence these decisions. Kentucky horse tracks have spent over $290,000 on lobbying efforts in 2009, according to the most recent Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission reports. The Keeneland association leads the way dolling out $106,645 to lobbyists so far this year.

Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Versailles) weighed in on the gambling issue in a recent op-ed piece published in the Herald-Leader and the Woodford Sun. His thinking illustrates this tendency to favor one constituency over another. Chandler calls horse racing one of Kentucky's "signature industries" and sees it as government's role to protect it.

"There are a number of forces at work, but the lack of gaming options in our state is crippling Kentucky's horse industry. Race tracks that allow casino gaming in other states have been able to provide bigger purses, giving owners and trainers bigger incentives to race in these states."

The Thoroughbred industry undoubtedly contributes mightily to the state. It generates billions of dollars, provides employment for thousands of Kentuckians and as Chandler puts it, "helps define Kentucky's 'brand'."

The industry also contributes to Chandler's reelection fund. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Political Action Committee gave $5,000 to the Sixth District congressman's campaign on May 7, 2009, according to the federal financial disclosure reports issued in October.

So, do these industries really deserve special treatment? Are Kentuckians working in these businesses more important than those working in the coal industry, the grocery business, or in any one of the thousands of other enterprises that make up the economy of this state? Wouldn't motels benefit from slot machines in their foyers? What about restaurants or movie theaters?

Government certainly has a role to play in creating a positive economic environment, but policies should benefit of all Kentuckians, not just select industries or constituencies chosen based on political factors and campaign contributions. Government oversteps its bounds when it begins to choose economic winners and losers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reducing number of inmates through bail revisions...

...and taking it easier on repeat felons proposed.

Liberal think-tank decries high cigarette taxes as making tax code burdensome to poor

Sen. Williams may put forward serious proposals

Central Kentucky home sales up sharply

Unemployment deficit reaches over $500 million

Louisville teacher union afraid of lawsuit challenge

Cash for Clunkers deficit subsidy makes cars more expensive

C-J says Beshear administration smells

A slightly historic lottery machine

Mike Huckabee and Harold Ford, Jr. visit NKU

Richmond finds more trouble as Auditor finds fraud in Clerk's office

November 18, 2009

House 52: Republican Candidate Files

The 52nd House district is one of the most Republican districts in the state. As we wrote earlier:

The 52nd consists mainly of McCreary and Wayne counties, but also contains a bite of Pulaski. Wayne and McCreary counties voted for McCain by about 72%-28% and McConnell 62%-38%. Pulaski was similarly tilted, 78%--22% for McCain and 68%-32% for McConnell.

The seat is open due to the retirement of Rep. Ken Upchurch.

The first candidate has filed to replace him. According to the McCreary County Record:

Monticello attorney Sara Beth Gregory has filed to run as a Republican for the office of State Representative in the 52nd House District.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Uproar over firing of individual not doing his job

Group argues to increase Lexington's carbon footprint

Unemployment task force offering unserious proposals

Eblen: Slots for Newspapers!

Beshear loves gamblin'

Distillery consolidation benefits Kentucky

Owensboro-Orlando flights for $9.99?

Greg Anderson in for Murray Mayor

Ice storm damage cost at $616 million

Many file for local offices in McCreary County

Whitley County may pilot zero-energy communities

Six nights of racing at Churchill (pretty soon, racing will be like other major sports)

November 17, 2009

Kentucky Senate Campaigns Talk about the Club for Growth to the Politico

The national Club for Growth received a write-up in the Politico today, where the Senate race in Kentucky was prominently featured:

To get a sense of just how much clout the Club for Growth has gained at the party leaders' expense, look to Kentucky and the race to fill the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Jim Bunning.

Both of the leading Senate Republican primary candidates there are vying for the club's endorsement -- and neither wants one from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

"I think our race is shaping up a lot like the other races: There is a sort of establishment candidate and a conservative who wants to defend a party platform that is against bank bailouts and a lot of the things going on in Washington," said primary candidate Rand Paul, the son of Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Paul, who has been active in Kentucky Taxpayers United, a local fiscal conservative group, said, "We hope we hit a chord" with Club for Growth officials. "I feel we represent the conservative alternative in our primary," he said, adding that his chief opponent, Trey Grayson, was feted at an NRSC fundraiser in September.

But Nate Hodson, Grayson's campaign manager, hotly disputed that assessment of the primary.

"There is no establishment candidate in this race. There is no incumbent. We reject the label. We reject it completely. We are not the establishment candidate," said Hodson.

Grayson has been a member of Club for Growth, Hodson said, and would be "thrilled" to have the endorsement of the group that is "well-known among conservatives as a strong organization that gets behind candidates and helps them win."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More local office filings in Boyd, Carter, Greenup and Lawrence

Sen. Robin Webb dissatisfied with response from Gov. Beshear

Michael Foster credited with leading KACo in the right direction, despite spending revelations

AARP wants more money from the state (and nationalized healthcare)

Louisville butcher plant can remain open

Horses Attack! (Senate 14 candidate)

House budget committee chairman Rand says tax increases unlikely

Bowling Green examines mayor's travel expenses

November 16, 2009

House 85: Turner Unfamiliar With Own Record

In an article this weekend, Jack Brammer wrote about the GOP primary in the 85th House district. Most of the article focused on a bad decision of the challenger:

Terry D. Gilreath of Pulaski County was fired in October 2004 by then-Corrections Commissioner John Rees, who accused Gilreath of committing fraud upon the state.

However, the state later agreed to void the termination in a settlement that required Gilreath to drop an appeal of his firing. He also agreed not to seek future employment with the Department of Corrections.

[SNIP]

In the Oct. 4, 2004, dismissal letter, Rees said Gilreath had submitted a travel voucher in Sept. 2, 2003, for $1,044.40 and received a state check for it. Gilreath endorsed the check and deposited it in his bank account, the dismissal letter said. On Oct. 1, 2003, Gilreath submitted a duplicate of the travel voucher with a minor change in the total for $1,044.20.

Gilreath received a state check, endorsed it and put it in his bank account.

However, the article concludes with this curious comment by Rep Tommy Turner (2008 Rank #26):

Gilreath said he is running against Turner "because I don't agree with his legislative record, especially his support for raising taxes 14 times since 2006."

Turner said he never has voted for a tax increase.

"I guess anything my opponent says and does shouldn't surprise me," Turner said.

Turner's claim is not borne out by examining even just the last two years. Here are a few of Turner's tax votes in 2008 and 2009:

2008
"Yes" -- HB 611 - levies a 2% employment tax on new employees in "development areas"
"Yes" -- HB 689 - taxes our roads by creating new tolling authorities
"Yes" -- HB 704 & 734 - makes a 5% property tax permanent and removes the ability of voters to hold a referendum on certain increases

2009 Regular Session
"No" -- HB 102 - tolls
"Yes" -- HB 236 - creates a new tax on "IPTV"
"Yes" -- HB 347 - expands the sales tax to cover digital property
"No" -- HB 374 - raises the gas tax

2009 Special Session
"Yes" -- HB 4 (vote #5) - taxes our roads by creating new tolling authorities

Learn more by reviewing our scorecard

Monday, November 16, 2009

6% cuts for state government

Tax hike talk begins

Promoting Kentucky Aluminium production

Flaig criticizes Moore on Boone parks tax

Moore raises $130K

Crestview Hills pushes smoking ban in all NKY counties

Louisville neighbors tell city's third-largest employer "Please move"

Gerth says gambling issue is not a significant factor for voters

Distillers want to give you more samples!

Churchill details online strategy

Mike Huckabee to visit NKU

Local office filings in Madison County

November 13, 2009

Possible December Special Session for Iron Horses Only

While we thought that the various reforms to Kentucky's incentives programs would end the need for special legislation, Governor Beshear says Harley-Davidson's potential relocation to Kentucky may require a quick session in December. He also says that he will guarantee the expedience of the session by limiting its agenda to that one item.

Beshear seemed to rule out placing the gambling issue on the agenda of the special session -- if it occurs at all.

"We are very excited about the potential opportunity for Harley-Davidson to locate a facility in the commonwealth," Beshear said. "We are making plans related to this project and don't know if there will be a need for a special session at this juncture. However, if there is a need for any kind of economic development project to be addressed by a special session, it would certainly be the only item on the agenda."

When asked if that specifically excluded placing gambling on the agenda of a special session, his spokeswoman Kerri Richardson said, "Yes."

This is despite the recent Ohio referendum allowing casinos in Ohio, and the Dec. 8th special election in Senate 14. We wonder if the Governor will afford to withstand the pressure for another vote on gambling.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Possible Special Session in December, but not for gambling

Report on the problem of rising prison populations in Kentucky

Local office candidates file in Mason, Bracken, Lewis, Robertson and Fleming Counties

Farm at Nicholasville Rd and Man-O-War greenlighted for development

Red Wing closes in Danville

Breeder's Incentives Fund drops

Anti-everything protesters protest meeting electricity demands

Rep. Clark pushes to make health care system even more inefficient

Smoking rate up across country

First batch of whiskey bottled at St. Elmo distillery

Garrard CJE John Wilson works to modernize law enforcement

November 12, 2009

US Unemployment Now Higher Than Europe

We don't know how this hasn't been bigger news.

From the Washington Post:

For many on the left, the lament for years has been: Why can't America be more like Europe? Why can't the American lifestyle be more like the European lifestyle? Why can't our food be more like Europe's? Why can't rustic Americans be more like sophisticated Europeans? The sentiment has resurfaced in recent months as the health-care debate has raged on -- why can't the American health-care system be more like Europe's?

Well, America is now just like Europe in one respect: the unemployment rate.

The official U.S. unemployment rate, reported last Friday, now stands at 10.2 percent. It shot up from 9.8 percent in September, blasting through expectations and well besting the European average.

Senate 14: Update

Just to catch you up on what has transpired in the 14th Senate district over the last week...

Republican Jimmy Higdon reported raising over $30,000, but Democrat Jodie Haydon reported over $60,000 and is already up on air with ads, courtesy of horses.

Higdon is winning a race for facebook supporters, but that's the only numbers game he leads so far.

In conversations with locals and former colleagues, they mention that Haydon was well-regarded as a legislator, although there are conflicting reports as to whether he left because he wanted to rake in state highway contracts or because he didn't like campaigning. We suppose those reasons aren't exclusive.

Higdon explained the reason ads were up for his opponent:

"We were anticipating they would get in the race for my opponent," Higdon said. "I voted against their bill to allow slot machines at the race tracks."

Higdon said he had tried, but failed, to keep the issues group from becoming involved in the race. "I let them know that I wanted to let the people vote on a constitutional amendment to allow expanded gambling but they wouldn't hear it," he said.

We're currently doing our research, and we'll let you know how the records of these legislators compare.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

We're back at it today

Boyd Co libraries rolling in cash

Riley, OH can't pay utilities

Kentucky's always glad not to be some other states

KCTCS Salary Database

Senate 14: Horses love Jodie Haydon

Churchill buys youbet.com for $127 mil

4.5% rate increase for Louisville water

An entrenched loss of American economic activity

Buy a sign from Owensboro's Executive Inn

Paul talks free market...

...will hold FR for Senate 14 GOP candidate.

Layoffs, loan potentially to balance Richmond budget

Madison Co building starts pick up

KSP, KVE merger, best thing to come out of 2009 session, going well

KSP tired of training new troopers

Bereans indicted for growing mushrooms

November 11, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank a Veteran

Local officials join FACES of coal

State revenues continue slide

Fasig-Tipton sales cut in half

H-L editors agree with Sen. Williams, scold him for it

Nov. 12 NKY TEA Party in Richwood

Kemper Foods expands by 350 jobs in New Albany

Crestview hills pushes smoking ban

Bowling Green has Coyotes...

...and will improve tourism website

Hopkinsville's WKAG fights Clarksville's Charter Communications at FCC

It's Garrard County! (VIDEO)

Watch Owensboro's Executive Inn come down!

November 10, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Filings for local offices in Boyd, Carter, Greenup and Lawrence

Petition in Brown County, Ohio to fight sales tax increase

Kentucky Chamber reveals the true cost of state worker benefits

Spoilsports attempt to stop nearly-complete water plant

Mike Huckabee, who hates the Club for pointing out his tax increases, in Paducah Wednesday

Senate 14: Higdon raises $31,000

September's Comrade of the Month: Greg Stumbo

In one of the closest votes yet, Speaker Greg Stumbo wins Comrade of the Month for September.

Stumbo was nominated for his flippancy in his role as leader of the House of Representatives. In a recent controversy over a legal carve-out of politically-connected friends of State Rep. Keith Hall, we learned that Greg Stumbo allows lobbyists to write state law without his review.

From the Appalachian News Express via Page One Kentucky:

Do you know who is making the laws which govern the state of Kentucky?

Well, according to House Speaker Greg Stumbo, he's not sure either.

-SNIP-

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."

-SNIP-

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.

That's assuming he's being truthful.

How can citizens expect to be represented when the Speaker of the House doesn't even care about his job?

As we wrote at the time:

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.

Please join us at the Kentucky Club for Growth as we push for serious leadership.

November 9, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

After laying off 47, courts give out 20% raises

Kentucky's Capitol rotunda being restored

Performers sought for Equestrian Games

Executive Inn in Owensboro is no more

Flaig officially files against Moore

Many file for local office in Knox and Laurel

Natural gas prices, cost drop

Renewed push for alcohol sales in state parks

Rob Sanders for AG on 2011?

Some wealthy US Senate candidates in KY

Castle Doctrine applied

No More Affordable Electricity in Kentucky!

No music with your beer in London

November 5, 2009

House 96: Analysis

It's been months since we took a look at the race for Senate 18 and noted that it could swing either way in a neutral set of circumstances. Since we looked at that race (back in July), a special election has come and long gone, Robin Webb now represents the district, and her seat in Carter and Lewis counties is open.

In 2008, while McCain handily defeated Obama in this district, McConnell edged Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford by only 370 votes -- that's 2.5%. We would also note that Sen. Webb had significant pull in these counties, as strong turnout and a strong margin in her home counties carried her to victory in her Senate race.

Now, nominees have been selected to stand for election on December 8. The Republicans have selected Jill York and the Democrats Barry Webb (unrelated to Robin).

Barry Webb is a welder at AK Steel

"I think (Webb) came prepared with a very good campaign speech, so to say," said Carter County Democratic chair Ron Bush. "He was very concerned about the economy and the economy here in northeastern Kentucky."

Webb is employed as a maintenance welder at the AK Steel's Ashland coke plant and has served various elected positions in Local 523 of the United Steelworkers of America. This will be his first run for elected office.

"I've always been interested in politics and worked on a couple of Robin's campaigns and when this opportunity came along, I felt it was a very opportune time for someone like me to pursue it," Barry Webb said.

York is a former Carter county magistrate and is a small business owner who is active in the Carter business community

York formerly served as a magistrate for Carter County until 2006. She is on the Chamber of Commerce and is chairman of the Carter County Fair Board. She runs Print Works in Grayson.

"I think we have knowledgeable candidate whose community involvement is second to none," Harrison said.

This race will likely be overlooked as attention focuses on Senate 14, but as the seat won't affect the casino debate and is less likely to see casino money involved, it could serve as a better barometer of Kentucky's political mood.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Williams, Worley, Stumbo react to Ohio casino vote

Beshear wants slots 'by winter'

Statewide budget shortfalls don't humble Universities, ask for spending increases

CPE must ask for additional $140 million to keep level funding

Dem Rex Smith to challenge Sen. Leeper

Rep Will Coursey dubs self 'emerging leader'

Photos from Boone Tea Party

Ohio casinos also pressure Indiana

Wow - Cash for Clunkers took Ford Explorers off the roads

WKU does fine with private support

Richmond in trouble again...

...and it's raining lawsuits

Sen. Jensen officially to chair Judiciary

Watch a video on Garrard County

November 4, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sorry for few posts, we've been on a trip

Conservative candidate goes from 5% to 45% in two weeks

Survey USA surprising results in KY Senate race

House 96: GOP nominates Jill York

Beshear vows to help coal

Casinos in OH, KY next?

November 3, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election day in most places but not KY

Go vote in VA, NJ and New York-23

Dems select Barry Webb, no relation to Robin Webb, for House-96

Kentucky "not even trying to quit" smoking

profits, UAW rejects contracts

State enrolls additional 35,000 kids in KCHIP

Keeneland wagering up

Department of Education may help school choice in Kentucky

H-L calls for tax increases

KACo plans to stop being corrupt

Big Brother manager embezzled $435,000

November 2, 2009

North Country

That's what they call New York's 23rd Congressional District, where the Conservative Party candidate is about to beat the liberal Democrat and the more liberal Republican who stopped campaigning and endorsed the Democrat.

Why is a Conservative Party candidate going to return to Congress for the first time since Buckley?

The Club for Growth posts some numbers:

FINANCIAL NUMBERS:

Club for Growth PAC Independent Expenditures:
TV/Radio - $376,822
Mail, Phone, Other - $31,940
Subtotal - $408,762

Club for Growth Independent Expenditures:
TV - $184,688
Mail, other - $51,839
Subtotal - $236,514

Club and PAC Total - $645,276
Bundled Club member donations - $363,112 (2,461 donations)

GRAND TOTAL - $1,008,388

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TIME OF SIGNIFICANT EVENTS:

Sep 24, 2009 - Club releases poll that shows a statistical 3-way tie in NY-23

Sep 28, 2009 - Club PAC endorses Doug Hoffman in NY-23

...

Read the rest

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ohio votes on gambling

Gerth analyzes Richie for governor

Pension fund $15 billion in debt

Conway calls out C-J editorial board

Ford in better shape

GE plant in Owensboro to close

Quality Sites

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Poor and Stupid
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South Dakota Politics
Sports Economist, The
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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.