Representative Jim Wayne, who is always very forthright with his intentions to raise taxes on those making more than $75,000 in Kentucky, actually brought up the start of a good idea.
In an editorial praising his latest idea to stick it to businesses in Kentucky, the Herald-Leader lays it out:
Wayne's proposals are simple good government.
First, he wants to increase the information legislators get about incentive programs by lifting "the secret seal" thrown over them by the Cabinet for Economic Development.
Some of them might be great investments for Kentucky but no one outside the cabinet — or possibly even inside it — knows what taxpayers are getting for their generosity.
Second, Wayne proposes that each incentive or tax break would automatically expire, or sunset, after eight years.
One year before the expiration date the legislature would review the program to see if it deserves a longer life.
"We do this annually with other things in the budget," Wayne reasons, so why not the giveaways?
That's a very good question. We'd like to hear an answer.
The first idea, that private companies should give away proprietary information in order to receive incentives designed to create jobs, is ridiculous and obviously contrary to the original purpose of the incentives.
But the second idea, of requiring expiration, is the kernel of a genuinely good idea. Wayne limits his proposal to tax incentives. But why not require a sunset on all legislation? Let's change the assumption of immortal government programs to an assumption of government program retirement. The idea that a program might have outlived its usefulness certainly is not limited to tax incentives....