Kentucky Club for Growth
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August 24, 2010

KEA Causes Kentucky to Miss Out on Federal Funding Again

In April, the Kentucky Education Association caused Kentucky to miss out on federal funding through the 'Race to the Top' programs because of their opposition to school choice, just as David Williams had predicted.

Demonstrating a typical lack of accountability, the KEA and Beshear's administration pressed ahead with the same, unchanged proposal, still denying Kentucky the sort of school choice that 46 other states are using successfully.

Kentucky education commissioner Terry Holliday said that the state improved its performance on its second round application for the grant money, receiving more than 412 points out a possible 500. But the one category on which it received no points was charter schools, Holliday said, "and that was 32 points that we lost."

"I've called around (to) a few folks, and it looks like we would have been in the money if we had charters. ... I was never a strong supporter of charter schools; I just knew that to get this funding, we needed legislation."

If you keep doing what you've always done...

August 23, 2010

Delaying Instant Racing

The Kentucky Family Foundation has decided to challenge the Beshear Administration's regulatory approval of instant racing games at racetracks.

The game is based on the pari-mutuel system, with players using a machine to bet on previously run races in a common pool against each other. The identities of the old races remain a secret until after the bet is placed.

The Family Foundation argues the game is a slot machine and that Kentucky law only allows gambling through the lottery and live horse racing.

The game, in use at two Arkansas tracks, was approved in July by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as an alternative to traditional slot machines.

This is a high-risk decision for the Family Foundation, because losing my open the door to a larger window for expanded gaming options. We'll pay attention to this effort with great interest.

Horse Economics Revisited

About a year ago, we wrote about the simple economic lessons provided by the trend the equine industry is facing.

Apparently, there are too many foals to be sold, and the oversupply is depressing the prices paid. And how's the market reacting? The supply is contracting as breeders react to the new lower yield....That's how the market works.

Today, we learn the next chapter.

The Thoroughbred foal crop, on decline for the past five years, is expected to fall an additional 10 percent in 2011.

The Jockey Club on Saturday predicted a 2011 foal crop of 27,000, the smallest North American crop since 1973, when 26,811 foals were registered.

The prediction is based on reports, due by Aug. 1 of mares bred. The numbers are considered preliminary. In September, The Jockey Club will release numbers of foals born in 2010, with state-by-state figures, based on foals registered. The 2010 crop is estimated to be 30,000.

The market in action!

August 20, 2010

Kentucky's Workforce Continues to Shrink

Kentucky unemployment is down, but only because more workers have stopped looking for work.

The drop to 9.9 percent "continues to be a result of the decrease in the state's civilian labor force because people have become discouraged in their job search," said Ron Crouch, director of research and statistics in the state's Office of Employment and Training. "People who have not looked for a job in the last four weeks are no longer counted in the labor force."

July also marked the end of a spate of job gains. For four months, the state had added jobs each month, but in July, that reversed course to a drop of 8,000 positions.

How about that stimulus!

Steve Pence Ingratiates Himself

Apparently, Steve Pence would like to be appointed to a judgeship.

Commuting in Louisville to Get Worse

Enjoy a morning/evening commute through Spaghetti Junction in Louisville?

How would you like to add some expensive toll booths in the middle of it?

Under the Spaghetti Junction proposal, tolls would be difficult to escape without avoiding Interstate highways altogether. For example, a driver taking I-64 west into downtown Louisville would be tolled at some point in the interchange, even if the route doesn't require switching to another interstate.

Granted, traffic's already pretty slow through these sections...

The Wilbur Smith study envisions travelers entering or passing through the junction of Interstates 71, 64 and 65 paying a toll when they pass under an overhead device, which would take a photo of the license plate or read a transponder.

Oh good, they'll just send you a bill.

August 19, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Unemployment claims rise

Beshear defends expensive committee

Richie's gonna...

Kentucky 4th most medicated state

Record enrollment at Bluegrass CTC

Lexington Mayor candidate Gray releases platform

Pike residents sue mines for flooding

AARP recognizes Sen. Buford (Rank #3) and Rep. Damron (Rank #73)

Campbell County considers tax rate

Boone Tea Party fights Florence tax hike

August 18, 2010

Herald Leader Recognizes that State Workers Must Sometimes Be Treated Like Private Sector

In an editorial today, the Lexington Herald Leader recognizes what one group of state workers does not: that not even state workers are immune from the recession that is affecting the rest of the country.

The staff of the paper knows only too well the truth of the first line they write:

Furloughs have become something of the norm in the private sector during this ongoing recession.

Having faced this hard reality themselves, they recognize that state workers are not immune.

p>Painful and costly as they may be for employees, they are preferable to more of the layoffs that have also become a norm in private business.

Now, furloughs are becoming a reality for some public employees in Kentucky. With authorization from the General Assembly, Gov. Steve Beshear's administration is in the process of implementing a furlough plan for the executive branch of state government.

The furloughs -- six days for each employee, scattered throughout this fiscal year -- are expected to account for $24 million of the $131 million in savings the administration must find to balance the current budget.

Even before the furlough plan has been completely finalized, several state workers have challenged it in court.

Although we see no reason government employees should be more exempt from furloughs than workers in the private sector, the suit does raise some questions the Beshear administration needs to consider as it implements its plan.

The questions are legitimate asking are there situations where required overtime would be more expensive than a furlough. But let's note this occasion where we agree with the editorial board of the Herald Leader.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More trouble with Mountain Water District appointments

Beshear talks education in 10 cities

Huff, huff: advocates demand to speak right now, not scheduled at next month's meeting!

Lincoln and Garrard consider building new jail

Congratulations to Centre

Ryan Alessi keeps tabs on potential 2011 statewide office candidates

Regulatory efforts worldwide hurting burley sales

Cincinnati teacher's union playing games

Airports beg for taxpayer handouts

August 17, 2010

A Vision for Kentucky We Commend

In a recent speech to the Kentucky Chamber's economic summit, columnist John David Dyche called for a new vision in Kentucky politics. An article adapted from this speech contains a nice medley of Kentucky's political environment over the last century before getting to Dyche's recommendations.

At the core, Dyche references Indiana's Governor Daniels to create a new golden rule for Kentucky governance:

Simplify the complex. Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, who would make the best president this country could have come 2012, judges everything his administration does by whether it increases the disposable income of average Hoosiers. Kentucky needs a guiding rule just that concise, but featuring personal freedom as well as prosperity.

"Will it create growth and promote freedom?"

That's certainly a rule we can endorse.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

State workers challenge government shutdown plan in court

Beshear raises lots of money

Heat increases challenges of selling produce

Rep. Pullin to recognize century-old farms

Unemployment eligibility expanded

Pulaski CJE wants new government position created

State inspectors plead guilty

State levies coal fine

City employees and Councilmember Lane file lawsuit to lose in Scorsone's court

City possibly saved from AIG by questionable decisionmaking

Kenton County to vote on smoking ban

August 16, 2010

Lexington and Louisville Chambers Conspire on New Tax

Government-funded entities Commerce Lexington and Greater Louisville Inc (GLI) recently took a trip to Pittsburgh and vowed to make the trip into more than just a junket.

Tom Eblen reports

The trip went well. But the big question was this: Would there be any follow-up?

Commerce Lexington's trips are sometimes criticized as junkets because the travelers come home, go on summer vacation and never get around to following up on most of the city-improvement ideas they gathered.

Lexington and Louisville officials said they are determined that that won't happen this time. Last Thursday, summer vacation ended, and it was time to get to work. A Commerce Lexington/GLI steering committee met all day and, that evening, announced follow-up plans to the trip's participants at a reception in Louisville's 21C Museum Hotel. The attendees included both cities' mayors.

So the mayors and others traveled and then spent all day in a meeting. What are the possible results of this now non-junket? To cooperate to advocate new spending projects and a new tax!

Top priorities include exploring the feasibility of light passenger rail between Lexington and Louisville...

...and to pursue legislation that would allow the cities to have a local-option sales tax.

The Chamber presidents at least have realistic expectations about these proposals.

Presidents Bob Quick of Commerce Lexington and Joe Reagan of GLI said afterward that such taxing authority probably would have to be done in the context of overall state tax reform, which is long overdue. "Some of these things will take some time to build the right coalitions," Reagan said.

But it's clear that these are the ideas of agents of the government, not business interests.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Louisville real estate developers struggling

Former Garrard Co Atty Jeff Moss now teaches

Scott County fights the Army Corp or Engineers

Barren Co looks to save by finding new medical provider

Henderson County maintains flat tax rates

NKY Mosque proposal criticized

More TV news in Lexington

Setting the Lexington Mayorial candidates straight on water

Maysville reduces property taxes

August 13, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Some Kentucky ACT scores improve...

...but still lag benchmarks

Public defender's office employee accused

Louisville Dem former mayor candidate endorses Republican candidate

State pension system investigated

Kentucky wineries win medals

Ohio casino construction begins

August 12, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eat ribs in Ashland

Feds investigating Somerset City Hall

Louisville Councilwoman's city-funded program audited

Beshear COS Edelen resigns to run for office

...maybe Auditor

State employees can't be fired no matter how bad

Newberry finally releases documents called for months ago, Johnson's story begins to unravel

Barren County to hold property taxes steady

Newberry and Gray discuss who likes water

Jessamine considers spending half a million on new animal shelter

Nicholasville keeps property tax rates steady

August 11, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lawsuit to challenge 'Instant Racing'

$860,000 property tax hike in Boyle County

State can't pay for Medicaid commitment

Kentucky Speedway to hold annual 100,000 spectator event

Christian County hikes property taxes 6.75% to avoid cutting government

Mason County hikes property taxes 6.5% to avoid cutting government

State revenue matches expectations

Boone and Kenton Counties back state enforcement of immigration laws

Kenton County avoids property tax hike

August 3, 2010

Tom Eblen, Revisited

Yesterday, we took issue with Mr. Eblen's column extolling the virtues of Obamacare while relegating concerns like improving the country's health care system, or paying for the changes to a dismissive foot note.

We concluded with sarcasm in an attempt to draw attention to the fact that everyone having everything always sounds great until you worry about who has to pay the bill.

Mr. Eblen's dismissal of this critical component of any policy question has been contagious. Over at Barefoot and Progressive they too brought attention to the column. As one might expect, they paid attention to the first 540 words of the column, ignoring Eblen's begrudging admission that no one know how we can afford it or whether the health care system in this country will actually be changed and improved.

Indeed, for the report that inspired the column and the statistics quoted by Eblen and B&P, they indicate nothing that suggest health care costs will decrease to make care more affordable, nor do they suggest that we will begin to address the fact that we can't afford the government services we're currently providing, much less planning to provide under this legislation.

The President, during his campaign, spoke of the many challenges facing our country. His health care plan only makes these challenges worse.

Tuesday, August 2, 2010

Federal earmarks are so wasteful, they waste themselves

Dead heat in Louisville mayor's race

Debate showed Fisher not as dull as expected

Comparing US Senate race polls

Webster County gun owner stops burglary

Large manufacturer expected for Henderson-Webster county area

Hotels for World Equestrian Games reducing rates

Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant moves ahead

Skateboarders want park in Richmond

Minnesota Congressman loves Ohio River traffic

August 2, 2010

Tom Eblen Recognizes Giant Unaffordability of Obamacare, If Begrudgingly

Today in the Lexington Herald-Leader, Tom Eblen devoted 540 words to how great the new Obamacare law will be:

The report paints a generally positive picture of how the law will affect Kentucky, the 47th-poorest state in per-capita income, at only 80 percent of the national average....

Expansion of Medicaid eligibility for poor people will extend coverage to an estimated 261,000 Kentuckians -- or about 40 percent of the state's currently uninsured population -- by 2014, the report says.

The law will allow 16,800 young adults in Kentucky, up to age 26, to remain on their parents' insurance policies if they don't have coverage available through their own employer.

There will be gradually better coverage for people who now fall into the Medicare prescription drug program's "donut hole" of cost-sharing. The report estimates that this will apply to 129,000 Kentucky seniors next year. In addition, about 63,200 Kentuckians will benefit from a reinsurance program for early retirees who are not yet old enough for Medicare.

Is there anything problematic about the law? in the next to last sentence, Tom begrudgingly acknowledges:

It remains to be seen how well this new law will deal with some fundamental problems, especially rising costs, in the nation's health and insurance systems.

What a great undertaking that we may or may not be able to afford! Let's just be glad no one ever has to pay for it!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Joe Gerth explores Kentucky's connections to Charles Rangel, but not in Central Kentucky

A new Paul-Conway poll is out

Kentucky Speedway to finally get Sprint Cup Race

Camel and Ostrich races to celebrate

Heat depresses corn harvest

Women-owned businesses in Lexington maybe increasing

Fancy Farm is this weekend

Jake says Rocky Adkins in considering a run for Governor (like everyone else in the House)

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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.