Kentucky Club for Growth
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July 30, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Phil Moffett and Mike Harmon declare for governor's race

Moffett-Harmon seek to capitalize on Tea Party movement

State and city workers caught stealing

UK well funded outside of state taxpayer support

One in Four Kentucky children in poverty

Boone County out of smoking ban discussion

NKY Chamber of Commerce to create PAC

July 29, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Williams continues to nudge Richie

Rep. Bill Farmer considers campaign based on tax reform

Ashland hospital reduces workforce

Lancaster landlord refuses business license

Stanford rejects tax hikes

Jim Gray hates planning for future growth in Lexington

Nicholasville creates better system for incentive fee payments

Kentucky among the highest ranked losers of Race to the Top grants

July 27, 2010

Kentucky Republican Powers-That-Be Step Up Pressure on Farmer

No one knows what Richie Farmer plans to do next, and that probably includes Richie Farmer himself. But recent media speculation about a Williams-Farmer ticket for governor isn't so much informed speculation, but an organized effort to convince Farmer where he needs to be.

It started earlier this month with an article by Tom Loftus in the C-J, hidden in the Fourth of July Weekend:

Some in GOP promote David Williams, Richie Farmer ticket for governor

Higher-ups in the GOP structure were trotted out to praise what a great ticket that would make for the GOP.

"Richie running with David is really the only credible talk that I'm hearing lately," said Ellen Williams, a former chairwoman of the state Republican Party. "I think that would be a formidable ticket and one that Kentuckians would be excited about."

State Senator Damon Thayer (2010 Rank: #1) said:

"That would be a dream ticket for Republicans and Steve Beshear's worst nightmare," he said. "I would fully support that ticket."

Republican consultant Scott Jennings said:

"If David and Richie form a ticket, I think it's extremely formidable and would dissuade most others from running in the GOP primary," he said.

Even Larry Forgy added to the chorus:

Larry Forgy, the GOP's 1995 candidate for governor, said a Williams-Farmer ticket would be the best the party could field.

The chatter got Larry Keeling's attention: "GOP Dream Team or Pipe Dream?" and he outlined the point we were inclned to make.

As much as it's clear that the "party" has made up its mind, it is also clear that Farmer has not. The truth, and Farmer and Williams both know it, is that just about all of those accolades could be proclaimed about any Richie Farmer ticket, with or without Williams.

So the strategy for Williams and surrogates is to push media stories about how great the ticket would be to help make Farmer comfortable with the idea. Williams has even conducted a poll to demonstrate the viability of such a ticket so that he can say "See Richie, we can win this way." It is a sound strategy and a solid effort.

We'll just have to wait and see if Farmer can be persuaded.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oakwood State Mental Health Facility to layoff 50 workers

Danville makes business permitting easier

State settles with Six Flags

Williams wants to run for governor

Jobs top issue for voters

Number of children in poverty increases

Kentucky education system exacerbates white-black achievement gap

CPE approves tuition hikes

Glasgow maintains teacher numbers despite budget cuts

Financial reform will be boon for payday lenders

July 26, 2010

Obamacare to Increase Kentucky's Medicaid Responsibility By 40% And We Can't Afford It

As further evidence of the failure of the recently-passed federal health care legislation, we are beginning to find out what sort of hidden costs and effects will fall on the shoulder of our state legislature. In a speech at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Louisville, the changes are detailed:

Kentucky predicts at least 300,000 more people will qualify for the federal-state health plan that already covers a record 800,000 Kentuckians.

The new law will create an unprecedented surge in the demand for primary care, an underserved area already suffering from a shortage of physicians, nurse practitioners and others.

"There is no question this will increase demand in a very substantial kind of way," said Dr. Michael Karpf, executive vice president for heath affairs at the University of Kentucky.

A massive increase in state Medicaid rolls to approximately 25% of Kentucky's population.

A massive increase in demand for health care services that the state is unprepared for which will result in a further spike in costs.

State Rep. David Watkins, a Democratic physician, denies this elementary principle of supply and demand:

Rep. David Watkins, a Henderson family practice physician and member of the task force, said Kentucky needs to figure out how to manage its $5.2-billion-a-year Medicaid program more efficiently, and at the same time plan for the expansion he believes could help the state by getting more people basic health care.

"I'm still a strong believer that if we get more of our people insured, we'll begin to see a cost reduction," he said. "I see a lot of opportunities."

So he's a strong believer in wishful nonsense. Par for the course in Frankfort, where they passed a budget that depended on a non-existent extension of federal Medicaid funding:

In Kentucky, the federal government typically pays 70 percent of the state's Medicaid costs but currently is paying 80 percent under a temporary increase through federal stimulus funds.

Those funds expire Dec. 31, and if Congress doesn't extend the increased rate, Kentucky could be facing a Medicaid shortfall of up to $1 billion in the current fiscal year alone, because lawmaker assumed the increase would be extended in the budget approved earlier this year.

This very funding provision had been included and removed from recent legislation that just passed Congress. So, with a $1 billion shortfall, Medicaid seems to be headed for significant cuts, right?

That prospect has some lawmakers seeking ways to trim Medicaid spending. But their options are severely limited under the federal health-care law that bans substantial cuts in Medicaid programs, a point several speakers made Sunday.

In California, lawmakers had hoped to balance a huge deficit by cutting some Medicaid services, then found out they were blocked by the health-reform law, said Lisa Murawski, a legislative staffer from that state.

Obamacare: new mandates, no funding, no flexibility. Kentucky lawmakers will be faced with a choice -- challenge the federal law or find $1 billion in new revenue. We'll predict the petition will be on Jack Conway's desk by Thanksgiving...

July 22, 2010

State to Privatize Golf Operations

In a stunning announcement for responsible government, the state has announced a Request for Information regarding private operation of the state's 18 golf courses. From a release:

A "request for information" has been issued that allows interested parties to provide information about the operation and leasing of 12 eighteen-hole courses and six nine-hole courses operated by state parks. The information gathered from this request will be used to develop a formal "request for proposal" in the state bidding process.

The request for information is due Aug. 18, 2010. The request is posted on the Finance Cabinet's website at It will also be advertised in Kentucky newspapers.

One of the recommendations in the Kentucky State Parks strategic plan is to reduce the costs of golf operations. Since golf is traditionally a private-sector business, the state parks are proposing to have a concessionaire operate the courses.

You hear that Lexington? "Golf is traditionally a private-sector business".

A gold star to the Beshear Administration for this one.

July 21, 2010

Lame-Duck CJE Pushing Smoking Ban in NKY

NKY Politicians keep trying to send smokers across the river to Ohio by pushing a smoking ban.

Typically,the chief advocate is the CJE of Kenton County, who is attempting to drive it through before he retires.

But there's a sense that it's now or never: Kenton Judge-executive Ralph Drees, a driving force behind the ban, will retire at the end of the year.

Few other local officials have the political clout to bring all three counties to the table on such a controversial issue, as anything dealing with regionalism inevitably is in Northern Kentucky.

The feelings of Kenton County residents are probably well represented by the CJE's likely successor.

(Plus, Drees' likely successor, Steve Arlinghaus, opposes the ban.)

In Boone County, the CJE seems to have understood the results of the recent election that he barely escaped. From the NKY Tea Party:

At the Boone County Tea Party meeting last night, Judge Exec. Gary Moore said that the ban has no traction among the current or incoming fiscal court, especially in a bad economy because it could hurt small businesses.

Still, it's an agenda item in all three counties. If you'd like to make your voice heard on this issue, here are the next meeting dates:

Boone - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 @ 5:30pm at the Administration Bldg. in Burlington.

Campbell - TODAY Wednesday, July 21, 2010 @ 5:30 at 1098 Monmouth Street in Newport

Kenton - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 @ 7:00PM at the Independence courthouse

What Would Happen If Your City Outsourced Everything?

You'd live in Maywood, California. Surprising the New York Times.

A City Outsources Everything. Sky Doesn't Fall.

While many communities are fearfully contemplating extensive cuts, Maywood says it is the first city in the nation in the current downturn to take an ax to everyone.

The school crossing guards were let go. Parking enforcement was contracted out, City Hall workers dismissed, street maintenance workers made redundant. The public safety duties of the Police Department were handed over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

At first, people in this poor, long-troubled and heavily Hispanic city southeast of Los Angeles braced for anarchy.

Senior citizens were afraid they would be assaulted as they walked down the street. Parents worried the parks would be shut and their children would have nowhere to safely play. Landlords said their tenants had begun suggesting that without city-run services they would no longer feel obliged to pay rent.

The apocalypse never arrived. In fact, it seems this city was so bad at being a city that outsourcing -- so far, at least -- is being viewed as an act of municipal genius.

Read the entire article.

July 19, 2010

Andy Hightower on Kentucky Tonight

Tonight at 8:00 PM Eastern Kentucky Club for Growth Executive Director Andy Hightower will appear on KET program Kentucky Tonight to discuss the implications of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act". Joining him on the panel are

  • Dr. Douglas Scutchfield, a professor of health services research and policy at the University of Kentucky
  • Dr. Michael Macfarlane, a Louisville urologist and member of the Republican Party of Kentucky executive committee
  • Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO

The show's details are here.

July 15, 2010

2010 Revenues Exceed Forecast (Just a Little)

Sour headlines and stories have been written about the report from the State Budget Office reviewing the just-concluded FY 2010.

State tax collection hits five-year low reported the Lexington Herald-Leader

Page One Kentucky wrote: Kentucky's General Fund receipts have declined for the second straight year. It's the first time we've seen a consecutive decline since the end of WWII, according to State Budget Director Mary Lassiter. To top it all off? Tax collections hit the lowest point in five years.

But lost in the reports is the fact that revenues actually came in a little higher than expected:

Although General Fund receipts declined in the just-concluded fiscal year, revenues were $27.2 million, or 0.3 percent, above the official projection, which called for a 2.7 percent drop in revenues.

So revenues were were they were eventually budgeted to be.

The real problem lies in the future where revenues are expected to climb to support the $17.1 billion budget the legislature passed.

Ignoring the costs of current deficits, $17.1 billion is relying on exceeding 2010 revenues by $700 million over the next two years, or a 4.3% increase.

Get ready for more legislative belt-tightening...

July 7, 2010

Seatbelts for Hay Wagons

A tragic accident has brought government-firsters to call for new government regulations on Kentucky farms.

As police investigate the death of a woman thrown from a hay wagon Saturday, a Kentucky agriculture official says there are few laws concerning safety on farm vehicles.

Some person in Virginia thinks Kentucky's laws ought to change.

Ron Melancon, a former emergency medical technician in Richmond, Va., collects information regarding deaths and accidents involving trailers and farm vehicles, and he said changes need to be made in Kentucky law. People often don't know how to work lights or connect a trailer properly, he said.

"A lot of trailers out there are in bad condition," said Melancon, who runs the Web site "There is no training in how to drive one with people in it; they are meant for cargo."

Fortunately, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture still believes we can take personal responsibility for the welfare of ourselves and others.

Dale Dobson, head of the Farm Safety Program through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, said the state does not have any regulations concerning who can operate farm vehicles.

"There are no laws, and we don't need any laws," he said.

Dobson said the death rate from farm-equipment accidents has decreased from 50 a year in the mid-1990s to 13 or 14 a year in the late 2000s. The safety program educates farmers on how to prevent accidents and trains emergency responders on how to handle accidents.

"We educate that it is your life, your family, your farm and your responsibility," Dobson said.

That's why the Rahm Emanuel comment 'never let a crisis go to waste' is so infamous. We know that a statement like that, spoken by most politicians/bureaucrats, means that they don't want to waste an opportunity to diminish personal responsibility and expand the government's ability to tell people what they can and cannot do.

A gold star for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for standing up for people's ability to look out for themselves and others.

July 6, 2010

A Great Story On The American Dream

We have long been familiar with Mike Wong's Oriental Wok in Mt. Mitchell. Mike is an entrepreneurial American success story, and we're glad to see his story told.

FORT MITCHELL - This July 4, as he has every year for the past two decades, Chinese native Mike Wong is closing his Oriental Wok restaurants to grill out with friends and family at his Villa Hills home and pay tribute to his adopted country.

"He truly is an American success story," said long-time customer and friend, Mary Middleton, of Fort Mitchell.

Wong's youngest daughter agreed.

"His famous quote is: "When my country didn't give me opportunity, America did," said Angela Wong Miller.

Read the rest

July 2, 2010

A Decision for Future Transportation Policy

At some point in our history, policymakers made a decision that our public transportation infrastructure should be funded through the revenue raised by gasoline taxes and other vehicle-related fees and taxes. Given that gasoline usage is a strong proxy for road usage the decision to dedicate revenues in this way is a pretty fair way to support the public infrastructure. The more you use roads, the more you pay for them.

In Kentucky, the structure is pretty strict: gas tax revenues and titling fees go to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and basically create its budget, combined with federal road funds that largely originate from federal gas taxes.

As gas prices have risen and the economy has cooled, these revenues have declined as less gasoline has been consumed, which has created a small challenge for Kentucky to continue to meet the demands of maintenance. However, there is a greater challenge looming.

In a recent editorial in the Courier-Journal, Stan Lampe with Kentuckians for Better Transportation eventually gets around to asking the perplexing question:

In a nation with 246 million internal-combustion engine vehicles, other automakers seem ready to roll out more "plug-in" or electric vehicles before the end of the year. In an attempt to attract average Americans, Nissan will roll out its $30,000 Leaf subcompact in October or November. General Motors will offer its Chevrolet Volt plug-in around the same time. The "plug-ins" are coming.

But these significant cost and climate obstacles aren't preventing automakers from jumping into the "plug-in" market. BMW also announced that its next electric car, called the ActiveE, will undergo consumer testing this fall and may be ready for mass production and the showroom in 2011.

And so, it is crystal clear: the "plug-ins" are coming. What remains unclear is this: how are they going to pay their fair share for the use of the city streets, county roads, and the highway system?

While there will be no shortage of gasoline consumers in the immediate future, we will face an increasing number of drivers of vehicles that aren't paying for the roads they drive on through this traditional system. And we may have to completely rethink transportation funding in this country,

July 1, 2010

The Senate Races

Ryan Alessi at mycn2 Politics has created a brief profile of the eleven races for Kentucky State Senate seats. We encourage you to read his solid but brief analysis. Below is our own chart for each race listing the incumbent, the incumbent's party and score on our 2009-2010 scorecard, the opponent, and Alessi's rating of the race.

Dist. Incumbent Party Score
Opponent Party Alessi
2 Bob Leeper Ind. 50% - 13 Rex Smith
William East
6 Jerry Rhodes D 36% - 31 Jack Whitfield R Leans D
8 David Boswell D 38% - 27 Joe Bowen R Toss-Up
10 Elizabeth Tori R 49% - 15 Dennis Parrett D Leans R
12 Alice Kerr R 49% - 18 Don Blevins D Leans R
18 Robin Webb D 53% - 10 Jack Ditty R Leans D
20 Open (R)   Paul Hornback
David Eaton
24 Katie Stine R 60% - 7 Julie Smith-Morrow D Likely R
26 Ernie Harris R 47% - 21 John Black D Likely R
28 R.J. Palmer D 35% - 34 Ralph Alvarado R Likely D
30 Brandon Smith R 50% - 14 Johnny Turner D Leans R
32 Mike Reynolds D 51% - 12 Mike Wilson R Toss-Up
34 Open (D)   Lee Murphy
Jared Carpenter
36 Julie Denton R 60% - 6 Rick Hiles D Likely R
38 Dan Seum R 61% - 5 Marty Meyer D Leans R

We'll provide our own updates in the upcoming weeks.

Quality Sites

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Cato @ Liberty
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Constrained Vision, A
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Kudlow's Money Politics
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NTU's Government Bytes
Newmark's Door
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Poor and Stupid
Professor Bainbridge
Raising Farrahzona
Sibby Online
South Dakota Politics
Sports Economist, The
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Kentucky Blogs

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KY Wordsmith
On the Right!
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Page One Kentucky
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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.