Kentucky Club for Growth
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March 25, 2010

Bills in Frankfort Today - March 25, 2010

Legislative Day 55

As the Session winds down, there are only a few new things left in committees. We'll go through the orders tomorrow...

House

Another Health Insurance Mandate
The House Committee on Health and Welfare will hear SB 157, a chiropractic mandate on health insurance. All new mandates increase health costs for us all.

Senate

Another New Board or Commission
HB 398, creating the Kentucky Equine Health and Welfare Board, is on the agenda in Senate Agriculture.

March 24, 2010

Bills in Frankfort Today - March 24, 2010

Legislative Day 54

House

A New Costly Set of Regulations
The House Committee on Agriculture will consider HB 304 which places new regulations on stockyards, and will cost the state an additional $70,000/year to enforce.

Senate

Another New Spending Program
The Senate Committee on Health and Welfare will consider HB 72 which creates a $600,000 colon cancer screening program.

Revamping Another Board that Costs Money
The State is full of boards and commissions that bleed the General Fund, but, fortunately, many of them do not actually meet. The Senate Committee on State and Local Government will consider HB 170, which will resurrect Commission on Fire Protection Personnel Standards and Education and spend more money to be sure it is adequately staffed.

More Tedious Regulations to Suffocate Small Businesses
Possible KEY VOTE: The Senate Committee on State and Local Government will also consider HB 185, a bill requiring businesses to post various statutes on the wall somewhere and creating new penalties for non-compliance.

March 23, 2010

Bills in Frankfort Today - March 23, 2010

Legislative Day 53, 7 more to go...

House

Did You Know We Had A State Beekeeper?
Under SJR 177, he or she will be required to put bees in rights-of-way.

Senate

A Stealth Spending Increase
Possible KEY VOTE:Senate A&R will consider HB 295 a bill that reduces funds dedicated to the "Building Inspectors' Financial Incentive Training Program Fund", but requires that any fees collected in excess of this fund are dedicated to the Office of Housing, Buildings, and Construction's building inspection program. Not knowing the amount of revenue the fee creates, this may overfund the operation of the office, while removing resources from the General Fund.

Another New $1.7 Million Spending Program
Senate A&R will also consider HB 376, a bill creating a new $2000 salary supplement for speech-language pathologists and audiologists. While no funding is appropriated in this legislation, it creates a program that would cost over $1.7 million to fulfill.

Raising the Dropout Age
The Senate Committee on Education will consider HB 301 which raises the age for compulsory school attendance to 18.

Another New Board
HB 308 is on the Senate Orders, and will more or less replace the wood-products-related board that Rep. Koenig repealed. So much for reducing government.

March 22, 2010

Bills in Frankfort Today - March 22, 2010

Legislative Day 52

House

New Entertainment Tax
HB 206 is still on the orders and is a KEY VOTE on a new tax.

Picking Lt. Governors After the Primary
HB 247 would allow gubernatorial candidates to pick running mates after the primary instead of forcing the selection prior to filing for office

Unionizing State Employees
KEY VOTE: THB 493 would allow state employees to enter collective bargaining. This idea will only serve to make it more difficult to set more realistic benefits for state employees, and generally violates the principle that the government should be responsible to the taxpayers.

Water Transportation Pork Projects
The Senate has amended and returned HB 28, a bill creating new spending programs including grants of up to $30,000 for "marketing".

And many other things we've mentioned previously...
Day 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 49, 50

March 18, 2010

Bills in Frankfort Today - March 18, 2010

Legislative Day 49

House

Energy Price Hike Mandates
Likely KEY VOTE: HB 3 is on the agenda in the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment again this week. The Kentucky House must think President Obama and Nancy Pelosi are doing things right. Yesterday, they created a debt-based stimulus program for Kentucky. Today, they're creating energy portfolio mandates and their own sort of Cap and Trade program. This is a convoluted bill, full of new energy bureaucracy that will increase energy prices for all Kentuckians.

Trails Bureaucracy
The House Committee on Tourism and Energy will consider HB 173, a bill to grant the Kentucky Trails Authority the actual authority to create trails on public lands. It also authorizes the Trails Authority the authority to charge access fees and sets up a fund to receive the fees to be used for trails maintenance and development.

Senate

Outdated Medical Guides Are Better
Likely KEY VOTE: In what has become an annual occurrence, Senate Judiciary will consider HB 38, this year's bill to mandate that the AMA 5th edition, not the current 6th edition, should be used in disability determinations for workers' claims. The Senate seems to have finally given up on protecting modern medicine this year.

Driving While Texting
Also on the agenda for Senate Judiciary is SB 23, the ban on texting while driving. The bill would fine an individual $100 for the first offense, $300 for subsequent offenses, and $200-$600 if the incident caused an accident.

Obviously, More State Corrections Employees Are Needed
In what appears to be a needless but costly rearrangement of deck chairs, the Senate Committee on Education will hear HB 164, transferring all KCTCS employees who are engaged in providing educational services and support to inmates to the Department of Corrections. Here they will join the state retirement system and the state health plan. Not only will it cost more to hire people into the Department of Corrections than KCTCS, just because of the association, but the benefits will be more expensive too. What a great plan.

March 17, 2010

Bills in Frankfort Today - March 17, 2010

Legislative Day 49

House

Another New State Board
This one's so redundant that the bill has to specify that the authority of other boards is not diminished. SB 105 is heard in the House Committee on Agriculture.

Another New Spending Program
Still on the agenda from last week is HB 594, a new tax and subsidy program for dairy farmers.Not only is this a new tax designed to increase the price of (and therefore reduce the demand for) milk, it puts a new burden on retailers to apply and collect the tax. Still a likely KEY VOTE.

Professional Charitable Gambling
The House Committee on Licensing and Occupations will consider HB 515 that will allow eight people to be paid to operate charitable gaming. How charitable is that? Are there really no volunteers to operate church bingo?

Another Health Care Mandate
The House Committee on Banking and Insurance will consider HB 460 mandating coverage of oral cancer medications. All new mandates increase health costs for us all.

Senate

First Step in The Next American Car Company Failure
The Senate Committee on Transportation will consider HB 217, a bill placing new state restrictions on car manufacturer-dealer relationships. While much attention is given to the roll the unsustainable union contracts played on American car company sluggishness, GM, Ford and Chrysler were also greatly constrained by a bog of state laws governing their relationships with dealers. Here, once again, the state is dictating to the car companies who should operate their dealerships, once again preventing them from making the economic choices they might make in a free market.

How Many Employees Are In Kentucky Government?
Because no one knows the answer to this question, the Senate Committee on State and Local Government is considering HB 387, which will require this information to be reported quarterly.

March 16, 2010

Bills in Frankfort Today - March 16, 2010

Legislative Day 48

House

Allowing SEEK Funds For Early Graduation
The House Education Committee will hear SB 67 which encourages early graduation and allows students to maintain SEEK-funded scholarships when leaving the school system early.

An Independent Commission To Set Salaries of Elected Officials
The House Committee on Elections will consider HB 554, a strange constitutional amendment to create an independent commissions responsible for setting the salaries of public officials and allow the public to dispute them by referendum

Independents Allowed to Vote In Partisan Primaries
The committee will also consider SB 53, which was debated in the Senate on CNN.

Glorious Entitlement for the Benefit of Teachers
Likely KEY VOTE: House A↦R will consider HB 540 newly guaranteed perpetual health benefits -- like no employees in the private sector enjoy -- to all teachers forever. We discussed this legislation a few weeks ago.

Another New Board and Spending Program
As if the state is looking for new ways to spend. HB 490 in House Welfare Committee.

Senate

Big Brother Philanthropy
Likely KEY VOTE: The Senate Committee on Appropriations and Revenue will discuss SB 227, a horrible proposal to create a charitable trust operated by the state government for the purpose of receiving and disbursing charitable donations. In the list of things the government should not be doing, this is near the top.

Budget
Senate A&R will also discuss the budget.

Another Health Care Mandate
The Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance will consider SB 154 mandating coverage of acquired brain injuries. All new mandates increase health costs for us all.

March 15, 2010

Frankfort Today - March 15, 2010

Legislative Day 47

House

Another New Board/Commission
HB 498 leads off the House orders creating yet another railroad advisory board

Another New Spending Program
HB 513, which we mentioned on Tuesday, is a new spending program which will potentially take educations funds out of the classroom.

Anti-Contract-Preference Legislation
Likely KEY VOTE: SB 45 evens the playing field in the state procurement system by creating a reciprocal preference penalty. If another state gives unfair preference to local companies in bids for contracts, then Kentucky will penalize applications from companies in that state by the same amount. This is a good disincentive for the anti-competitive practice of geographic discrimination.

And Another New $3,000,000 Spending Program
Possible KEY VOTE: HB 436 creates a $3,000,000 new program to fund school nurses. Wile we do not take issue with nurses in schools, we question whether this is the appropriate time to create new funding burdens. There is a committee substitute deleting the funding language.

New Entertainment Tax
As we mentioned on Wednesday, HB 206 is a KEY VOTE on a new tax.

Recidivism Reduction
From Committee on Tuesday, HB 340 would allow prisons to enter in cooperative agreements with private enterprises.

Dueling Allowed
Also from Tuesday, HB 36 would remove the language swearing public officials have not participated in a duel.

Abolishing One Non-Existent Board
Likely KEY VOTE. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, HB 309 eliminates the Kentucky Wood Products Competitiveness Corporation

Attempting To Circumvent Parole Board
The Governor has not hidden his plan to help balance the state's budget by releasing more criminals from state jails. The problem as he sees it is that the Parole Board is trying too hard to keep violent criminals in jail. Beshear is pushing HB 564 so that he can take better control of the parole process and release more prisoners from jail early to save money.

Transparency in Spending
Likely KEY VOTE of support: HB 492, from last Monday, would require the legislative and judicial branch to post their finances online.

Transparency for Quasi-Governmental Agencies
Likely KEY VOTE of support: SB 87 creates new transparency in spending requirements for entities like KACo and KLC.

Wage Litigation

Potential KEY VOTE: HFA2 to HB 435 is an amendment that softens legal language prohibiting wage discrimination, opening the door to less clarity and greater litigation.

March 11, 2010

Fighting the Good Budget Fight

One bright spot in an otherwise ridiculous debate yesterday was offered by Representative James Comer.

As noted below, the budget that just passed the House is, once again, the most indebted in the commonwealth's history.

Recently it seems that the budget discussion in Frankfort is simply a comedy of repetition. The Governor proclaims billion-dollar shortfalls, suggests 'all options are on the table', then proceeds to ignore one of the simplest solutions: repealing the prevailing wage requirement. As we've said before:

Eliminating this artificial wage requirement would mean more jobs building more projects for the same money.

It means our tax dollars go further:

In a 2004 Memorandum developed by the Kentucky Department of Education's Facilities Management Division, it was reported that from 1999 to 2004, Kentucky's prevailing wage requirement unnecessarily inflated the cost of school construction by more than $480 million. The amount of unmet need for schools in the most deplorable condition is around $500 million. It is conceivable that if SB 145 was currently the law, nearly every child in Kentucky would be attending an adequate school. In addition, these returns can be realized without one additional dollar being invested!

If legislators were truly serious about stretching our tax dollars and truly focused on creating jobs in Kentucky, this would be the first place to look.

At least one legislator is serious.

For the last two days, Representative Comer has led an effort to exempt the projects in this budget from prevailing wage requirements.

Given the historic level of debt-financed spending in this budget, the impact of this legislative change has never been greater.

Various analysis have shown that reverting to the pre-Patton rule that prevailing wages are not applicable to public construction would save the state 17-25%.

For the record, 17% of $2.2 billion is $374 million, which happens to be twice as much as the revenue expected from the tax hike on struggling businesses.

Thanks to Representative Comer for standing up and championing real proposals for reducing spending and creating jobs in Kentucky.

Budget Numbers at a Glance

Yesterday, the House passed its biannual horribly debt-ridden, overspent budget, for the fiscal years of 2011 and 2012.

Here's a quick look at the overall numbers for this budget, and a comparison to the last two:

Overall spending:

2007-2008 $18.1 billion
2009-2010 $17.55 billion
2011-2012 $17.5 billion

Total bonded indebtedness:

2007-2008 $2.01 billion
2009-2010 $1.51 billion
2011-2012 $2.2 billion

Appropriated debt service as a percent of revenues:

2007-2008 4.7%
2009-2010 4.3%
2011-2012 over 7%*
*overheard yesterday on the coverage of the House debate. Unsure of the real number

What Frankfort's Up to Today - March 11, 2010 - Part I

Two-Parter today because we're busy.

Legislative Day 46

House

Energy Price Hike Mandates
Likely KEY VOTE: HB 3 will be heard in the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment. The Kentucky House must think President Obama and Nancy Pelosi are doing things right. Yesterday, they created a debt-based stimulus program for Kentucky. Today, they're creating energy portfolio mandates and their own sort of Cap and Trade program. This is a convoluted bill, full of new energy bureaucracy that will increase energy prices for all Kentuckians.

Kentucky's Own Housing Bubble Generator
The House Committee on Economic Development will seek to put taxpayers on the hook to pay back banks if construction loans fail in HB 553. Imagine what would have happened to the state if this program had been in place before the financial crisis hit!

Unionizing State Employees
KEY VOTE: The House Committee on Labor and Labor will hear HB 493 allowing state employees to enter collective bargaining. This idea will only serve to make it more difficult to set more realistic benefits for state employees, and generally violates the principle that the government should be responsible to the taxpayers.

March 10, 2010

Harry Moberly is Expressing His Love For Government Spending

On the House Floor. Right now.

"It's our responsibility to do something about it," said Moberly about the problem of joblessness.

What's his proposal to help jobs? To raise taxes on struggling small businesses, and creating a Kentucky "Stimulus" by issuing debt to spend on pork projects.

Legislators are laughing at him on the screen.

We are very glad that Mr. Moberly is retiring.

UPDATE: He's not hurting anyone, just those corporations that have multiple entities employing people. He really said that.

"That debt ratio and that percentage is only part of what they use to establish debt ratings," he pleads.

4:54 - Representative Stewart is now congratulating himself of voting for overspending and record debt with the majority party.

5:02 - Representative Upchurch gets it. Makes a good speech about the fallacy of the idea of government-created jobs.

5:09 - Rep. Burch rallies against free trade

5:14 - Rep. Hall, a favorite at PageOneKy, says ironically that he "didn't come to Frankfort to do nothing." We wonder if the'll be in Frankfort tomorrow. Also wrong: "Any economist will tell you that in hard times the government must step forward."

5:30 - Also wrong: Rep. Thompson thinks tea parties are occurring because government isn't "investing" enough in our communities.

5:38 - "You can't spend your way out of debt" does not apply to a modern economy, says Rep. Stacy.

What Frankfort's Up to Today - March 10, 2010

Legislative Day 45

House

Another New Spending Program
Likely KEY VOTE: The House Agriculture Committee will take up HB 594, a new tax and subsidy program for dairy farmers.Not only is this a new tax designed to increase the price of (and therefore reduce the demand for) milk, it puts a new burden on retailers to apply and collect the tax.

New Eminent Domain Powers for State-Run Sequestration Service
KEY VOTE: The House Committee on Resources and the Environment will hear HB 491, making all sequestration in Kentucky a state-run endeavor. The bill grants the state condemnation rights based on geologic features favorable to carbon sequestration, establishes a board which has the authority to charge a fee for "carbon storage" in the confiscated property. This government takeover of an emerging private enterprise is, well, the antithesis of the free market.

Corporate Organization Bills
The House Committee on Judiciary will hear SB 150, SB 151 and SB 152, all which change the rules of business organization in Kentucky.

Zoning Fee Increase
The House Committee on Local Government will consider HB 431 which allows local governments to raise fees for planning and zoning violations.

Senate

Anatomical Gifts
The Senate Committee on Health and Welfare will consider SB 4, a bill creating procedures for individuals to bequeath body parts.

Personal Care Homes
The Senate Committee on Health and Welfare will also consider SB 143, creating a regulatory structure to certify 'personal care homes' and explore the ability to include such facilities in Medicaid.

$1,000,000 Public Health Accreditation
HB 258 will be discussed in Senate Health and Welfare, which creates a new public health accreditation program that apparently costs $1,000,000.

March 9, 2010

What Frankfort's Up to Today - March 9, 2010

Legislative Day 43

House

Forcing Tax Hikes
Potential KEY VOTE: The House Education Committee discusses HB 168, a bill that punishes Kentucky School Districts that do not force the maximum tax hike on the district's taxpayers each year.

Creating New Spending Programs
Potential KEY VOTE: The House Education Committee also discusses HB 513, a bill to create a new spending program. This a bad idea for two reasons. First, because the state is grappling with cutting back to reasonable levels after years of overspending, this is hardly the right time for new spending programs. Not only that, but this is an enhancement program. The problem with just about any enhancement program in education it that it gets considered "education spending" but inevitably draws education funds out of the classroom. This bill exemplifies the problem in Frankfort. It is feel-good legislation with no consideration for the longer-term consequences or how the spending fits in to the overall priorities of the state.

Senate

Tax Bill:

Potential KEY VOTE: The Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee takes up HB 530, a bill of assorted new taxes and tax hikes and administrative reforms to help avoid necessary spending cuts. The bill does recognize that maybe now is not a good time for taxpayers to be subsidizing Hollywood producers millions of dollars a year, but ironically (or maybe typically) the bill simply limits the subsidy to $5 million this year and $7.5 million the next. Aren't you glad to know what our legislators' priorities are?

March 8, 2010

We've Been Called Out!

So over at pageonekentucky, Jake asks:

Wonder how the Club for Growth, Blueballs Institute and the rest of the teabaggers feel about their main man using his position to score pork projects for his employer?

He's referring to a source alleging that 2007 Defender of Economic Freedom Jim DeCesare is using his position as a legislator to unethically pressure firms into entering contracts with his employer. This is a serious allegation.

Before discussing the allegation, let's examine a few parts of the story. First is Jake's contention that school construction is pork spending. He references a project of replacing a category five school, which is the lowest rating a school can receive and means the building is a top priority for replacement. The only thing unreasonable about this project is the ridiculous prevailing wage requirement that inflates the construction cost by as much as 20%. For the record, Jim DeCesare is one of the few in the House willing to take a stand in favor of repealing the prevailing wage requirement for school construction.

Second, the consequence of a having a part-time legislature in Kentucky is that it creates an abundance of conflicts-of-interest between lawmaking and the legislators' day jobs. All legislators must be very careful about conducting their daily business in a way that does not attempt to leverage their elected position for personal gain.

The Code of Ethics states it much more clearly than we just did:

The Code states that the proper operation of democratic government requires that:

A public official be independent and impartial;

A public official not use public office to obtain private benefits;

A public official avoid any action which creates the appearance that he/she is using public office to obtain a private benefit;

Government policy and decisions be made through the established processes of government; and

The public have confidence in the integrity of its government and its public officials. (KRS 6.606)

This is a challenge for those who must make a living, because everyone knows you're a legislator. No matter what a legislator does, people are influenced by that fact.

The story Jake presents actually stops short of accusing Rep. DeCesare of attempting to leverage his elected position, only alleging that someone who does not like him found the inherent conflict-of-interest irritating. If the Representative actually did attempt to obtain business by using his elected position, it would be serious misuse of influence. To do so would be not only out-of-bounds but foolish. After all, how much influence does a fiscal conservative have in the Kentucky House anyway? (not enough).

What Frankfort's Up to Today - March 8, 2010

We hope to feature this summary every day from now until the end of session...

Day 42

On the House Floor:

New Entertainment Tax

KEY VOTE: HB 206 gives county fiscal courts the ability to levy a new 3% tax on events at private facilities.

Recidivsm Reduction:
HB 340 would create a "Prison Industries Enhancement Program" that will allow prisons to enter in cooperative agreements with private enterprises. Similar programs in other states have been promoted as recidivism reduction because prisoners gain work experience that better prepares them to reenter the workforce once time is served. Provisions of the bill attempt to prevent unfair competition from the not-quite-forced labor by requiring some demonstration that adequate resources are not otherwise available in the state.

Dueling Allowed:

HB 36 would remove the language swearing public officials have not participated in a duel.

Eliminating a Non-existant Board:

Well, it's a start.

New Health Care Mandate:

SB 18 would mandate coverage of experimental cancer treatments. All new mandates increase health costs for us all.

Transparency:

HB 492 would require the legislative and judicial branch to post their finances online

March 3, 2010

KEY VOTE: HB 540 - Guaranteed Health Care for Not You

Today in the General Assembly a bill will be taken up that creates a new guaranteed health benefit for all future retirees from the state.

This is a guarantee not typically available anywhere else in the workplace.

While the bill makes some paltry commitment to increasing the amount of funding for the program from participants, the real cost recovery is borne by requiring Kentucky taxpayers to support its funding solvency.

There are good ideas in the bill. It attempts to prevent the legislature from borrowing from the fund, and it requires more reasonable contributions from participants. But the cost of a permanent guaranteed cadillac heath benefit is too great.

Health costs are rising, and likely to rise much faster if Nancy Pelosi is successful in cramming health entitlement expansion through Congress. The current $6.2 billion unfunded liability will expand and taxpayers will be on the hook to pay for benefits they themselves don't have, and (as Caleb Brown points out) that go to people who are no longer contributing to the state.

Call and email your representative today to prevent tax hikes in the future!

This is likely to be scored as a Key Vote on the KyCFG's 2010 scorecard.

March 2, 2010

Keeling Actually Helps Clarify Some Things

Larry Dale Keeling, rarely one to bother with using facts to elucidate things, wrote a great article this weekend explaining exactly how many political appointees Governor Beshear has made and how that number actually compares to the previous administration.

When you bore down into the numbers, you find that, of the 3,635 non-merit employees the administration cites as being on the personnel roles as of Jan. 31, 1,222 were employed by elected officials other than the governor -- commonwealth attorneys, county attorneys and the other statewide constitutional officers.

Another 672 were teachers in career and technical schools or the state schools for the blind and deaf. And 346 more were employed by agencies that, by law, operate their own personnel systems -- Kentucky Educational Television, the Council on Postsecondary Education and the Kentucky Historical Society, to name just three.

Like the teachers, the staffs of these agencies are career professionals whose tenure spans multiple administrations, both Democratic and Republican. They are about as far from being political appointees as you can get in government.

When you bore all the way to the bottom line, you find that Gov. Beshear appointed just 826 of the 3,635 non-merit employees in the executive branch on Jan. 31.

This number is actually 26 higher than the previous administration, or 3.25%, so there's room to cut, as there may be in the agencies listed above. But demanding a reduction of 125 appointees entirely from the Governor's appointees, over 16% of the total, will likely harm his ability to run his government. The number should be reduced -- everyone is tightening belts -- but the Governor should also be afforded the ability to implement his policy directives, and these appointees are often (too often, unfortunately) the only staff that have the willingness and ability to do that.

A Small Victory for Reducing Useless Government

Rep Adam Koenig as won a small victory in the fight against immortal government programs:

On Friday, a House committee passed a bill to eliminate a defunct state board that's one of hundreds of state boards and commissions. House Bill 309 is sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger:

The provisions in House Bill 309, sponsored by State Representative Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger), would abolish the Kentucky Wood Products Competitiveness Corporation, one of the state's numerous boards, and vest their responsibilities within the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet.

During his testimony before the committee, Representative Koenig stated that, while this commission was established with the admirable goal of promoting the secondary wood industry, this board was investigated by the FBI in 2003, has not met since 2004 and currently has no members.

Now if only Rep. Koenig and the rest would stop creating so many new ones...

March 1, 2010

Kentucky's Oath of Office

In today's column, Joe Gerth ponders Kentucky's Oath of Office, and makes a few suggestions. There is an effort underway in the Kentucky House to remove the part of the oath that makes the incoming officer swear that he or she has never taken part in a duel. If the dueling part is removed, Gerth has a few recommendations to replace it:

In all seriousness, this state has many problems that -- if attacked through the oath of office -- could be solved.

For instance, with a new oath, politicians could be forced to "further solemnly swear that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not accepted money or campaign contributions in exchange for a vote, nor have I upon accepting such a gift replied, 'Bless your heart,' so help me God."

Or how about requiring them to "further solemnly swear that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not slept with a person I appointed to a state board or commission, so help me God."

Maybe they could "further solemnly swear that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not allowed a state merit employee to be hired, fired or transferred because of political reasons, so help me God."

While Gerth seems to concentrate on real and alleged scandal in the Governor's office, there are much more useful things that could be pledged. Like vowing to make state expenditures match tax revenues, and not the other way around. Or vowing to put state spending online and having the budget publicly available for 24 hours before voting on it.

What would you have our legislators pledge? Email us!

Reducing Spending Forgotten, Tax Hikes on the Way

House Speaker Greg Stumbo seems to have decided that cuts to state spending is too hard, and has reverted to wishes and tax hikes to balance the state budget.

From Tom Loftus:

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Sunday he is more hopeful the House can reduce or eliminate proposed cuts to state funding of higher education in the 2010-12 budget.

So if spending won't be cut, how's he going to balance the budget?

Stumbo repeated Sunday that the House will close what he called "some loopholes" in the state tax code.

"Closing loopholes" is almost always code for raising taxes...

A proposal he first mentioned last week was to suspend for two years a corporation's ability to carry forward past losses to offset current-year income for tax purposes. That remains in the House plan, he said. Stumbo has said this move would generate an anticipated $182 million over the upcoming budget period.

As we pointed out in our newsletter, the $184 million expected from businesses is not only a tax hike, but because it is a postponement of the ability to write off losses, it is targeted directly at small businesses that are struggling!

The Kentucky Chamber agrees:

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce sent Stumbo a letter on Friday opposing the move, saying it would "have a negative impact on Kentucky companies at a time when some are just starting to turn the corner."

What is it in the water in Frankfort, that always pulls the Kentucky House down the road to tax hikes?

Additionally, the shortfall will be met with a fantastic effort of wishful thinking and accounting trickery:

"We may shift some money around, but that's not a cut. There are better ways to do some things than what the governor has proposed with the same dollars," he said.

The magical speaker can spend the same amount of money on more things! Usually, this is a skill of someone who writes the contracts but doesn't write the checks...

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.