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January 29, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Senate Republicans want to wreck political parties

Universities expect budget cuts

Ford and its Louisville workers profit without bailout

Beshear grumpily dismisses criminals food concerns

Budget plans taking shape

It's tough to be a state worker with secure employment and a defined-benefit pension

KU files 13% rate hike

Toyota recall hits Georgetown

New layer of management added to state parks

Education Department apologizes for identifying failing schools

Henderson Water District has big leak

Knott County has two felons running for CJE

Reps. Wayne and Marzian oppose central Kentucky

Thayer pushes accountability for KLC, KACo

Nicholasville passes audit

January 28, 2010

Snow Day For General Assembly

Just in to the H-L:

Leaders of both chambers of the General Assembly decided to call off meeting Friday because of reports of snow that could hit Kentucky overnight and early in the morning.

"That way members can get on the road tonight," said House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. "We decided it was better not to have session."

Stumbo said he spoke with Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, who had come to the same conclusion independently.

The legislative day, which was supposed to be the 18th day of the 60-day session, can be saved for later -- either to handle bills on a Saturday or during a two-week break for the governor to consider vetoing legislation in early April. The session must end by midnight April 15.

So consider tomorrow a "Not-Spending-Your-Money" holiday!

January 27, 2010

A Tally of Partisan Opponents For State Office

Just for keeping track: a chart of incumbents, how many have primary challengers and how many have general election challengers

House

Incumbent Total Unopp Prim Only Pr & Gen General
Dems 61 19 3 8 31
Reps 33 20 4 2 7
Open 6 1(R) 0 3 2
 
Senate

Incumbent Total Unopp Prim Only Pr & Gen General
Reps 10 1 1 3 5
Dems 6 1 0 1 4
Ind 1 0 0 0 1
Open 2 0 0 2 0

Filing Deadline - Incumbents Who Did Not File

UPDATED: Here's a list of incumbents in state offices who have not yet filed for reelection, according to the Secretary of State. They have until 4PM today to do so.

Senate

2nd - Bob Leeper (I) filing deadline for independents is later
20th - Gary Tapp (R) retiring
34th - Ed Worley (D) retiring

House

10th - Eddie Ballard (D) retiring
32nd - Scott Brinkman (R)
37th - Ron Weston (D)
52nd - Ken Upchurch (R) retiring
81st Harry Moberly (D) retiring

January 26, 2010

Kentucky House And Senate Race Summaries

Barefoot and Progressive actually has a good summary of the potential state House and Senate races as of this morning's filings. He lists the candidates and the results of last cycle's elections. Check it out: House and Senate.

Bill Farmer Stands Up -- And Walks Out -- For Taxpayers

When we read of the "bipartisan workgroup" for tax reform consisting of Democrat tax-and-spenders Jim Wayne and Harry Moberly and token Republican Bill Farmer, we were concerned that it would be difficult to come up with a proposal that wasn't centered on raising taxes.

We were right.

Today Bill Farmer reports that the workgroup is simply creating new taxes where they can offering not even a whole percentage reduction in income taxes.

A Republican House member who has pushed for an overhaul of the state's tax code said Monday that he will no longer work with a group that is examining the issue in the House.

Rep. Bill Farmer, R-Lexington, said Monday that he decided to leave the group because it appeared that the group was looking at decreasing the state's income tax but not eliminating it. Farmer said in a written statement that he was pulling out because he was concerned that the Democrats were simply going to raise taxes.

"Instead of eliminating either income tax, the Democrats' plan would merely reduce the income tax eight-tenths of a percent, from 5.8 percent to 5 percent," Farmer said in a written statement.

Instead of engaging in real reform, the workgroup seems set on another round of tax-tinkering. Kudos to Rep. Farmer for standing up for taxpayers by exposing this flawed process.

Send him an email and tell him "thanks"!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Filing deadline today

Day 15 of Legislative Session

Louisville Mayor race missing Abramson

Louisville hikes alcohol taxes

Stimulus plan for E-town

Georgetown runs surplus

Populist conservative amendment fails Kentucky Senate vote

School's out in Glasgow for basketball tourney

Who pays for lunch?

"Kentucky Association of Constant Outrages"

AG Conway sees nothing wrong with voting for appropriations for your employer

January 25, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Legislative day 14 of 60

Stumbo expects tax reform bill

Gerth: Beshear's bad week

House 26: Francis files against Rep. Moore

No one running for council in Georgetown

Elk upset SE Kentucky residents

Beshear makes seniors gamble on facility

Rep. Tilley thinks legislators accomplishing plenty early in session

Teachers get education in coal mining

January 21, 2010

House 81: Moberly Retires! One Less of Frankfort's Biggest Tax-and-Spenders

Kentucky.com's reporting that former budget chairman Harry Moberly is retiring:

State Rep. Harry Moberly, D-Richmond, said he won't run for re-election this year so he can concentrate on his family and high-profile job at Eastern Kentucky University.

Moberly, who will have represented Madison County in the House for 31 years when his term ends in December, said he felt this was the right time to retire from the legislature. He said he planned to formally announce his retirement later Thursday.

"Thirty-one years is long enough," he told the Herald-Leader. "It's time to get some new blood in here."

The next representative from this district will be an improvement for taxpayers.

Senate 34: Worley to Retire

Senate Minority Floor Leader Ed Worley is calling it quits on his Senate career.

Ed Worley, the Democratic floor leader in the state Senate from Richmond, said late Wednesday he won't run for re-election, preferring to concentrate on his private business, family and health after more than 30 years in public life.

"Representing three counties, serving as the Senate Democratic floor leader and running a small business in a bad economy is more than good reason or good health can handle," said Worley who represents the 34th Senate District of Lincoln, Madison and Rockcastle counties. "I love the Senate. It has been an education that you cannot buy. I think my time here has been beneficial to the 34th District and all of Kentucky."

Worley already had one Democrat planning to primary him...

Mike Cope, who has taken issue with Sen. Worley's construction of a project he voted to appropriate funds for, has filed his papers with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

Sen. Worley ranked #31 of 38 in our 2008 rankings.

Mr. Cope raised questions about Worley's contract at a recent Richmond city council meeting, and was interviewed by the Richmond Register:

Interviewed Wednesday, Cope said he believe Worley's involvement in the project was "a blatant conflict of interest."

"Given the political corruption we see today and Sen. Worley's past problems with land deals, you'd think he know better than to be involved in something like this," Cope said.

Apparently, two Republicans have already filed as well.

Already filed for the seat are Republicans Jared Carpenter of Berea and Kent J. Kessler of Richmond.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Williams' gambling bill passes committee

Louisville slated for 17% of road funds

Feds criticize Beshear's slow reaction to suspend indicted contractor

Stumbo rejects Beshear's nonsense

Reps. Jimmie Lee, Tim Moore criticize Governor's budget gimmicks...

...As do Rep. Koenig, Sen. Thayer and Sen. Stine

Nuclear power moves forward

Centre College celebrated

Hopkinsville left out of budget

US Senate nonsense

January 20, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 11 of 60

The Lane Report's 2010 economic outlook for Kentucky

Nutjob report says economic diversity is necessary now instead of always

Governor says gaming, General Assembly leaders say he's done

Abramson to meet with Obamas

Beshear fabricates state revenue to excuse continued overspending

Even KEEP doubts governor's intentions

It's all about one-armed bandits

Did we mention slot machines?

Governor's plan: slots

State universities face 2% cuts

Education funding level

Environmental protection cut radically even assuming non-existent gambling revenue

Medicaid spending ignored in budget proposal...

...rapidly increasing

Fort Knox wasting construction money on prevailing wage

Over $50 million proposed to pay prevailing wage-related costs

Community services spared cuts

Prosecutors and public defenders spared cuts...

...along with other public safety

Text of Beshear's budget address

Clay County vote buying

New murals at state Capitol gift of Terry and Marion Forcht

taxing authority

Another reason Kentucky needs school choice

Ground Shifting

From Heritage:

One year ago, President Barack Obama delivered his inaugural address at the foot of the Capitol, laid out an agenda of "big plans" for his administration, and chided "cynics" who "fail to understand that the ground has shifted beneath them." One year later, as voters head to the ballot box in Massachusetts, it seems that the ground very well may have shifted under President Obama.

January 19, 2010

Double-Dipping

One of the most remarkable revelations to come forward in the investigation of Leonard Lawson's relationship with the transportation cabinet is the ease of earning a high salary from the state while collecting a large pension:

Lawson's defense attorney, J. Guthrie True, attacked Knowles' credibility repeatedly in court Wednesday.

[snip]

True noted that Knowles is a "double-dipper," a state employee who retires and then returns to work, drawing a salary and a pension. Knowles said he gets $105,000 a year in salary and $90,000 a year in pension payments from the Kentucky Retirement Systems.

True asked Knowles whether it bothered him ethically to take public money from two sources and cling to a state job that a younger engineer could use.

"No, it does not bother me," Knowles said, adding that the Transportation Cabinet has struggled in recent years to deal with the retirements of experienced engineers who cannot be replaced easily.

Even if that experience can't be replaced "easily", it can be replaced. In fact, it's laughable to think that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet would be made worse off by removing people who have been a part of the political transportation project awarding system for decades.

But back to the point -- not only does the state offer a fixed-benefit retirement system that is unusual in the private sector, it offers it regardless of whether an individual is actually retired from the state.

Just one of many perks of being a part of the good-ol'-boy network in Frankfort.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

General Assembly Day 10; Governor's budget address

Forums set for Louisville Mayor candidates

Dyche: Why Stumbo can't beat Beshear

Bids for Barren County jail come in below expectations

FDA to study cigarette ingredients

Lexington mayoral candidates on the Internets

Turfland Mall to become Town Center

Senate 34: Dr. Kent Kessler files to run against Minority Leader Worley

Corbin growing

Sen. Katie Stine reports on the General Assembly

January 15, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Session day 9

Social workers seek more funding in time of shortfall

]

Beshear signs fake school improvement bill

KLC still explaining themselves

Stumbo thinking creatively about taxes

Chamber describes state budget's "leaky bucket"

Bill wants PVAs to receive less ethical scrutiny

Economists at Kentucky tax forum present details about state tax structure

Richmond Utility drops gas rates

January 14, 2010

Sen. Kerr Derails School Choice

Yesterday, Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr cast the deciding vote to kill the best chance for school choice Kentucky has had.

At issue was a amendment in committee that would have allowed charter schools in Kentucky. When Representative Stan Lee prefiled a charter school bill in August, he described his motivation for filing the bill:

Charter schools are public schools that operate free of over-regulation, including teacher union demands.

Representative Lee added, "Kentucky is one of only ten states without a charter school law and our students' test scores and graduation percentages consistently rank towards the bottom in national ratings. Is there a possible correlation?"

In December, we also noted a petition in support of charter schools:

The American Family Foundation has posted an online petition to support HR 79, Representative Brad Montell's effort to allow the creation of charter schools in Kentucky.

As a friend put it:

This will not only provide greater educational opportunities for lower-income, at-risk and failing students to succeed in education but will allow Kentucky to apply for President Obama's special Stimulus funding for expanding Charter Schools

Now, with the opportunity to make this overdue change a reality, Sen. Kerr blocked the Senate from beginning the discussion:

The main debate, however, centered on whether including charters would help or harm the Race To The Top application, and by how much.

[snip]

A vote on the charter schools amendment then produced a six-six tie. Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington, joined five Democrats in voting against the proposal. All six votes for the amendment came from Republicans.

We encourage you to contact your legislators and tell them they missed an opportunity.

Repeal It!

The Club for Growth has started an online petition we know you want to sign.

Repeal It!: the pledge to rescue America from government-run health care. We know it's not enough just to fight ObamaCare - it could still pass. So our pledge is to Repeal It! Join the cause, click the button, and take the pledge today!

Thurdsay, January 14, 2010

General Assembly day 8

Three Democratic Senators pledge not to vote for gambling

Thayer's slots amendment delayed

Pro-nuclear power bill advances

Senate votes to pretend to fix pension loophole

Beshear, top staff repeat 10% pay cut. Mongiardo joins this time

After charter schools axed...

...Anti-school choice bill passes

LG&E seeks rate hike

Schools tell Sen. givens and Rep. Bell to stop the unfunded mandates from Frankfort

Lexington Human Rights Commission is broke

Thayer files bill to require transparency at KACo and KLC

Jessamine county plans full-day kindergarten

Rep. Cherry to chair W.Ky. Caucus

Kentucky Corrections rejects help for Habitat

NKU expects cuts

January 12, 2010

Great Points on the Budget

In case you missed it,

UK Gatton Endowed Professor of Economics John Garen put together a great framework for the budget discussion yesterday in the Herald-Leader.

Here are a couple of the important points:

- Don't use tax reform as a cover for raising taxes. Kentucky's tax structure does need reform. But raising the tax burden is not the answer to our budget woes.

- Kentucky's General Fund budget for 2010 called for $9.3 billion in spending. Even after the "cuts" of last year, spending is on pace to be as high or higher than the roughly $9.1 billion spent in 2009.

- However, note that General Fund spending in fiscal 2007 was $8.8 billion. Simply returning to that level of spending would address much of the shortfall and could hardly be called draconian.

The whole article is recommended reading for tips on how to address the budget shortfall in a fiscally-responsible way.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ellis recognizes anti-incumbent mood

Charter school bill passes house committee

Louisville home sales increased in 2009

Is Stumbo running?

Battery research facility receives government funding

Funding tug-of-war for state, county jails

General Assembly first-week summary

UK Prez scares faculty

Keeneland sale suggests thoroughbreds still in oversupply

Slots still illegal

Distribution network created for 'Kentucky Proud' Ag products

Rep. Webb-Edgington joins Budget Committee

January 8, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

The credit crisis hits the equine industry

Budget cuts article 3

Stumbo: New ideas for slots revenue

Surface mining restrictions updated

Owen elected Louisville Metro Council President

Privately-operated schools bill takes step forward

Vehicle emissions testing looms in Obama air regs

Boone County Reps talk session

Williams will file gambling amendment

Kentucky education bureaucracy actually moves forward on standards

New Rep. York, Sen. Webb talk about first days in new roles

January 7, 2010

House 25: Lee v. Lay

Democratic State Representative Jimmy Lee has filed for reelection, and faces opponents in both the primary and the general. From the News-Enterprise:

Lee, 72, has filed for a 10th term as representative of the 25th District in the Kentucky House of Representatives, a position he has held for almost 18 years.

The Democrat joins a race already populated by Republican newcomer Carl Lay, vice president of Akebono Brake Corp., and familiar competition in Democrat Glenn Fonda. Lee defeated Fonda in the 2006 primary.

Governor Excited About Spending $700,000 Per Job

In his State of the Commonwealth address last night, Governor Beshear bragged about the federal stimulus. From the AP:

Beshear said his top priority remains job creation and retention, and he claimed some successes in the midst of the economic turmoil. He said federal stimulus money has created or saved 4,200 jobs in Kentucky...

Indeed, this is the same number that can be found at his ridiculous "Kentucky at Work" website, if you click on the 'jobs' tab on the lower-half of the page.

For perspective, the AP notes that Kentucky has lost 113,000 jobs since the recession began. If we assume that these 4,200 jobs actually were "saved", then stimulus spending has affected 3.5% of the jobs that would have been lost.

For better comparison, we can look at labor statistics that show there are about 218,700 Kentuckians unemployed out of about 2,064,300 in the labor force, for an unemployment rate of 10.6% (in November 2009). If 4,200 jobs had not been "saved" then 222,900 would be unemployed for an unemployment rate of 10.8%

This all seems a very insubstantial return for an estimated $3,000,000,000 in spending! (See the 'total funds' tab.) In fact, that's more than $713,000 per job.

Taking it one step further, median household income in Kentucky in 2007 was $40,299 according to the Census. $3,000,000 in spending is enough to provide full employment for a year at Kentucky's median level of income to 74,443 households. By doing whatever wasteful nonsense the stimulus put forward, Governor Beshear and other leaders were able to reach out to over 70,000 fewer families.

OK, we're done with the analysis.

What a load of waste to talk about, Governor!

HA! Governor Schwartzenegger says:

From Politico, Governor Schwartzenegger said about the federal health care legislation:

"California's congressional delegation should either vote against this bill that is a disaster for California or get in there and fight for the same sweetheart deal Senator Nelson of Nebraska got for the Cornhusker State. He got the corn; we got the husk."

KEY VOTE and RALLY: HR 10 - State Sovereignty

The session has only just begun, but there's one item we're already likely yo key vote in 2010.

HR 10 simply declare state sovereignty over powers not given to the federal government by the U. S. Constitution, a reaffirmation of the Tenth Amendment.

This principle has been too often overlooked as our federal officials consider regulating the air we exhale and attempt to mandate we purchase privately-provided services under penalty of jail.

What can you do to get this important piece of legislation passed?

First, visit KENTUCKYKNOWSBEST.COM to find out more about this important legislation.

Next, call and email your legislator today to ask them to cosponsor this resolution.

Finally, show up in Frankfort on January 21 for a rally in support of our state's right to oppose federal mandates

The Kentucky Club for Growth will definitely Key-Vote cosponsorship of this resolution for our 2010 scorecard.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Governor Beshear pretends he hasn't been marshaling effort against Republicans

AG Conway OKs 'Instant Racing' for Kentucky racetracks

Reps. Gooch, Harmon and Fischer question climate change science

Saying he faces $1.5 billion dollar deficit, Governor proposes new spending

KHC does a Freddie and Fannie impression

Dry county loses commerce

Governor has not yet decided on gambling legislation despite session already begun

Governor claims "indisputable success"

Thoroughbred wagering down $1.3 billion

Derby-Oaks tickets sell out fast

Central Kentucky Realtors elect new president

Rep. Bob Damron and Sen. Tom Buford discuss budget

House 39: Damron to seek reelection

Rep. John Tilley discusses the Governor's various task forces

January 6, 2010

Current Fiscal Year Improves, Governor Hikes Deficit

Most of the recent discussion of the budget has centered on the negative projection for future fiscal years 2011 and 2012 which the just-begun Legislative Session must address in the budget they must pass this year.

Overlooked, it seems, is the improvement in the current year (FY2010) forecast. From Governor Beshear's press release:

Because the CFG revised their estimates for FY10, reducing the revenue deficit from $160 million to $100 million, Gov. Beshear was able to lower cuts to impacted agencies from an expected six percent to three percent.

By this action, Governor Beshear has put off tough decisions and increased the future deficit.

While the increased forecast assists balancing the books for 2010, we must remember that FY2010 spending becomes the baseline for the 2011-2012 budget. So, by not cutting the additional $60 million, he has raised the projected deficit for the new budget by $120 million.

If the Governor already had plans to make cuts, he should have made them.

House 24: Special Election Candidates

The nominees for the February 2nd special election in the 24th House district have been selected:

State employee Leo Johnson, Republican nominee, and retired Social Security Administration employee Terry Mills, Democratic nominee, are candidates in the special election February 2 to fill the unexpired term of Jimmy Higdon in the 24th House District. Higdon was elected to the state Senate in December to succeed Dan Kelly who was appointed to a judgeship by Gov. Steve Beshear.

The 24th District is made up of Marion and Casey counties and five precincts -- Eubank, Buncombe, Mt. Zion, Ansel and Fall Branch -- in Pulaski County.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

General Assembly Session Day 2

Ronnie Ellis rounds up day 1

Fundraising numbers for Louisville Mayor

Beshear-Abramson raise $1 million

"Don't cut my program" lobbying begins

Governor will speak in Jeffersontown

In face of $1.4 billion deficit projection, Horse Racing Commission proposes new spending program

Housing construction in Henderson hits 27-year low

KLC unable to determine if second 'adult club' charge 'inappropriate'

Stumbo discusses tax hikes

Fundraising numbers for Lexington Mayor

State loans $250,000 for ziplines

Danville center of tax-incentive fight

School districts appreciative of Governor's lack of planning

Open Records challenge in Hopkinsville

Karl Rove to speak at University of Cincinnati

January 5, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Beshear cuts budget article 1

Ford transfers health liability to union

Danville alcohol vote on March 2

AG delays answers to conflict of interest questions

Tax refunds to be on time

Beshear cuts budget article 2

Herald-Leader previews the Session

Enviros fight coal

Kentucky Retail Federation gets new President

Tax loopholes? Or economic incentives?

Rep. Brent Yonts previews the session

GE to reorganize

EPA realizes it has no legs to stand on

January 4, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

We're back from break. Budget/Session analysis forthcoming

Legislators to deal with budget shortfall article 1

Want to watch an eagle?

House 24: Special election called Feb. 2nd

Budget shortfall article 2

Beshear man of inaction

C-J 2010 legislative preview

Everyone thinks Beshear likes to hype crisis

Jessamine County subdistrict tax examined

Quality Sites

Cato Institute
National Club for Growth

Blogs

AFP Blog
Alarming News
American Spectator
Ankle Biting Pundits
Betsy's Page
Boudreaux's Blog
Business & Media Institute
Cafe Hayek
Callaxy.net
Cato @ Liberty
CNBC's Squawk Blog
Constrained Vision, A
Coyote Blog
Dean's World
Federalist
Flash Report
Grassroots PA
Kudlow's Money Politics
Manufacturers' Blog
Marginal Revolution
NTU's Government Bytes
Newmark's Door
One Man's Trash
PoliPundit
Politics1.com
Politics of Money
Poor and Stupid
Porkopolis
Professor Bainbridge
Raising Farrahzona
RedState.com
Rossputin.com
Sibby Online
South Dakota Politics
Sports Economist, The
Tax Guru

Kentucky Blogs

Bluegrass Policy Blog
Blue Grass, Red State
ConservaChick
Conservative Edge
Conservative Musings
CyberHillbilly
Elendil's Blog
Jefferson Review
Jim Clark's Muckraker
Kentucky Pachyderm 2
Kentucky Progress
KY Wordsmith
On the Right!
Osi Speaks!
Page One Kentucky
The Pure Investor
Vere Loqui

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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.