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May 31, 2011

KY 2011 Gov Race Headlines from the Weekend - May 31

Environmentalists want candidates to "quit courting coal"

The top opponents in Kentucky's race for Governor, incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear and Republican Senate President David Williams, both pledge to take on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over what they see as overreaching regulations. However, long-time environmental activist Tom FitzGerald, head of the Kentucky Resources Council, contends that the EPA under President Obama is only demanding the kind of water quality accountability that was allowed to slide decades before.

Western Kentucky will be key battleground in race for governor

Obama is not popular in the state, primarily because of policies on coal and health care.

"He couldn't get a cup of coffee in Kentucky with a $10 bill," said Larry Forgy, a Lexington attorney and Republican who lost the 1995 governor's race.

Joe Gerth of the Courier Journal mis-analyses the NY26 race and pretends it's relevant to the KY Gov race.

The Herald Leader Editorial board becomes an apologist for pay-to-play politics in the Beshear administration.

While there's nothing here that tars Beshear, reporter John Cheves has given us an illuminating glimpse behind the scenes

Gatewood gathers enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Early on, Galbraith differentiated himself from the other gubernatorial candidates by taking a strong stand against mountaintop removal coal mining, charging that it has caused "unsurpassed environmental damage" in Appalachia and should not be permitted to continue.

Conservative activist/blogger Robert Stacy McCain calls for Republicans and Tea Partiers to rally to Williams

Beshear released a mysterious second list of GOP supporters that you can't find anywhere on the internet.

Jim Bunning asks for Republican unity at NKY event.

Herald Leader praises Governor Beshear's pro-coal stance

Last week, Beshear was ranting about KU's and LG&E's plans to comply with clean air standards by investing $2.5 billion in new air pollution controls, a massive construction project that would employ 3,000 to 4,000 people.

Cleaner power plants will cost the average household an extra few hundred dollars a year in electric bills.

Joe Gerth loves Jane Beshear

Her accent is much softer and her voice lends sophistication to the ad. One political consultant not working on the campaign told me he would use her to narrate all of Beshear's commercials.

She's just that good.

Ronnie Ellis asks whether the GOP can unite.

David Williams is mentioned in the Economist as an example of the GOP's "smart on crime" approach.

Gatewood courts the Tea Party

The Lexington lawyer sees himself as the natural choice for tea party groups because he has been advocating their key issues -- smaller government and less taxes -- for three decades, he said.

"I'm not a party candidate," Galbraith said Monday. "I don't want an affiliation with any party. But I'd love tea party support."

Gatewood calls out Behsear for his misplaced priorities on Oaks Day

May 27, 2011

Getting Managed Care Right

We have many questions about Governor Beshear's attempts to implement a managed care system in Kentucky's Medicaid program.

1) We are dubious that the proposed $139 million in savings can be realized so quickly.

2) We wonder what steps will be taken differently now than the last time Kentucky tried to implement managed care and failed.

3) We ask whether sufficient focus is being placed on improving health outcomes. Savings are important to the bottom line, but improving health is the ultimate need in this state. It will improve Kentucky's quality of life, our economic productivity, and fundamentally reduce the costs of health care in the commonwealth.

While there is not very much information yet available on the governor's efforts, one early detail is encouraging:

The state's 155-page document spelling out bidding guidelines requires all potential bidders to submit several bids. One is for the Passport region alone, another for the whole state and the other for the entire state except for Passport.

But Passport officials said Wednesday they do not intend to submit a bid for the work they already do. Rather, they are in the process of negotiating an annual contract with state Medicaid officials that would take effect July 1.

"We are negotiating a contract," said Mark Carter, interim director of Passport. "We believe the negotiations are moving forward in good faith. We believe we are going to be in business July 1."

Carter said he couldn't say why the state set up the bid requirement to include the Passport region, and state officials won't comment, citing the confidentiality of the bidding process.

Shannon said it appears that under the state's plan, all regions of the state could be served by more than one managed care company -- including Passport's region -- and consumers could choose a health plan.

Competition is a critical element to driving savings and innovation in a managed care operation. If this really is the state's plan, it is a real, positive opportunity to improving the Medicaid system.

Now, we just have to answer our other three questions and see if the savings becomes a reality.

May 26, 2011

More Discussion of the EPA Increasing Electric Costs for Kentuckians

We've discussed KU and LG&E's request to increase electricity rates in order to afford changes forced by the EPA before, but the Courier-Journal brings up the subject again:

LG&E wants to raise residential electric bills by about 19 percent by 2016 to pay for upgrading its coal-fired power plants to meet stricter federal environmental regulations.

The company says the monthly bill of a typical residential customer -- using 1,000 kilowatt hours a month -- would increase $1.96 next year, and more each successive year, reaching $16.33 by 2016.

The higher rates would go toward $2.5 billion in improvements to four plants operated by LG&E and sister company Kentucky Utilities, including the 29-year-old Mill Creek Station in southwestern Jefferson County.

The improvements are needed largely to comply with new or pending Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards stemming from new or proposed Clean Air Act rules from the last two years, utility officials said.

And rates could go higher still -- bringing the total increase by 2016 to as much as 24 percent.

Advocacy groups for businesses interests and low-income individuals discuss the burden the EPA is creating.

"It will hurt all Kentucky export-based industries," especially energy-intensive ones like steel and auto manufacturers, said Mike Kurtz, attorney for Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers.

Kurtz said many industrial businesses decided to locate in Kentucky because of low utility rates, "and that's no longer going to be the case."

The increases "will make every business less competitive in the national and international market" and could cause some to shift production overseas, he said.

The two utilities "don't have a choice on a lot of this stuff, so I'm not necessarily faulting them," said Charlie Lanter, manager of program development at the Community Action Council for Lexington-Fayette, Bourbon, Harrison and Nicholas counties. "But that doesn't make the burden any less difficult on low-income customers."

The results are so devastating to Kentucky, even Jack Conway is considering challenging the EPA.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who represents ratepayers in utility cases, said he plans to fight the proposed increases and will explore "legal avenues that could halt the speed at which the (EPA) plans to implement these regulations" because of their effect in Kentucky.

If the impact is enough to get Conway doing something, they must be bad (or he must be in an election soon).

Beshear Owns Tomorrow's Furlough

We don't know if its an attempt to exhibit the qualities of a truck ("Trusted, Tested, Tough"), but Governor Beshear has gone all-in on his sole ownership of tomorrow's furlough of state workers.

In the 2011 Regular and Special Sessions, Senate budget language had forbid future furloughs, and that language remained in the budget that was finally passed.

Unfortunately for state workers, Governor Beshear vetoed that provision, and Greg Stumbo intentionally abdicated the authority to override that veto:

He said his only regret from allowing Beshear to use the veto power to shape the Medicaid budget fix was that Beshear vetoed out the part of the bill that ended furloughs of state employees. The sixth and last furlough day in this fiscal year is Friday.

Beshear's actions make his ownership of the furlough clear enough. But then he issued the following press release:

"While revenue receipts are up slightly, we cannot guarantee that those receipts will keep rising through the end of the fiscal year," said Governor Steve Beshear. "If over the next year our receipts grow enough that we can be sure that our budget will remain balanced, reducing the number of furlough days will be among the first things we look at."

Not only is he unwilling to relinquish the extra revenues that have come in over last few months, he is assuming the same six furlough days will occur next year.

He says in the release that the furloughs reduce spending by $24 million, suggesting that this one day is worth $4 million.

These savings would be commendable were it not for the fact that spending is budgeted to increase a ridiculous 9.7% next year. The difference between a 3% inflation-rate based increase and the 9.7% recklessness is more than $0.5 billion worth of spending.

So, instead of laudable savings, the furloughs are just excuses to continue reckless spending.

May 25, 2011

Can Kentucky Afford Obamacare?

No, Kentucky can't afford the requirements of Obamacare as written, and that's why Governor Steve Beshear requested a waiver from some of its provisions in February. From Kentucky Progress:

The Beshear administration is hiding its latest communication with the federal government about the disastrous health insurance regulation in the law known as ObamaCare.

Beshear quietly asked for an exemption from the law back in February. Since then, Obama asked for more information about Kentucky's request and, according to sources with information about the negotiations, Kentucky has sent additional documents.

If Kentucky can't afford to adhere to the law, why doesn't Beshear ask his buddy Jack Conway to join the fight against it?

Alessi Mis-focuses on Williams Hire

In an article yesterday, Alessi notes that David Williams has hired a former campaign staffer for Marco Rubio to be his campaign manager, and suggests the hire is an effort to reach out to the Tea Party roots.

Republican candidate for governor David Williams is bringing in the former political director for the campaign of Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio to handle the operations of his fall campaign.

Scott Jennings, who had served as campaign manager, will shift into a general consultant and advisory role.

Luke B. Marchant will handle day-to-day operations of the campaign for Williams and his running mate, Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer.

Marchant, who is originally from Texas, has served as intergovernmental affairs liaison for Rubio's office after working as his campaign's political director during the 2010 race.

The move comes a week after Williams won the three-way Republican primary for governor with 48% of the vote in a low-turnout race.

Jennings played up Club for Growth candidate Rubio's connection to the Tea Party.

"We're bringing in someone from Marco Rubio's world, who is obviously a tea party favorite. That shows that this is a guy who has the ability to deal with tea party volunteers and activists," Jennings said.

That Marchant staffed a Tea Party favorite in another state is mostly irrelevant. What is relevant is this:

Republican leaders have downplayed the significance of Williams garnering less than 50% of support against two candidates with far less resources. One of Williams' rivals, Louisville businessman Phil Moffett, defeated Williams in the most populous areas of the state largely because of strong support from the tea party.

But it's not just Williams' lack of support in populous areas and among Tea Partiers, it's the fact that Williams' strategy and media, despite nearly $1 million in expenditures completely failed to move Republican voters to his support.

In April, Williams-Farmer collected 49% of the vote and Holsclaw-Vermillion collected 12%. In the new [May] poll, these numbers were largely unchanged, with Williams-Farmer at 47% and Holsclaw-Vermillion at 12%.... Williams has also not picked up any of the vote despite releasing their first television ad one month ago.

Williams's 48% share of the Republican vote continued at the polls on May 17th. When you spend money and get no results, it's time to reassess your media strategy.

It's unclear what impact Marchant may have on Williams' media and strategy efforts. According to the campaign, it won't change:

Marchant will focus on coordinating grassroots activists, get-out-the-vote efforts, and volunteers, while Jennings will serve as general consultant and senior adviser, Jennings said.

"In my case, what I do best is think about messaging, communications and policy and strategy," he said.

Regardless, Marchant will be welcome new blood.

May 24, 2011

Ky Governor's Race Is National Race to Watch, May Parallel 2009 Races

National Review's Jim Geraghty previews Kentucky's Williams-Beshear matchup, and thinks Kentucky's race should demand the most national attention.

There are four governor's races this fall, but West Virginia looks like a steep climb for Republicans, Mississippi looks like safe ground for the GOP, and in Louisiana, Democrats are still looking for a candidate to take on incumbent Bobby Jindal. So Kentucky may be the premiere fight this November.

Additionally, of the Republican gubernatorial victories in the 2009 off-year elections, he thinks Kentucky could most resemble Virginia.

A Washington Republican watching this race closely tells me, "Kentucky's employment rate is the sixth-worst in the nation and worse than all its neighbors, including hard-hit Ohio. Last month it was tied with Michigan. Worst of all, Kentucky doesn't seem to be recovering at the pace of its neighboring states. Beshear has some strong ties to Obama - strong proponent of the stimulus, supported Obamacare and has even sided with Obama on some regulation of coal and energy production, all of which can be tied back to jobs and pocketbook issues."

Is this race is comparable to the 2009 off-year gubernatorial races? The New Jersey race also featured a Democrat incumbent, but incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine entered his reelection campaign widely disliked on a scale that just doesn't apply to Beshear. However, Bob McDonnell did manage to ride an anti-Washington, anti-tax, anti-spending mood to his big win over Creigh Deeds, so there may be some parallels there...

Considering Decision Incentives When Reforming Pensions

Caleb Brown at BIPPS notes the federal government's decision to borrow from federal retirement funds to fund operations, and compares it to Kentucky's pension reform decisions.

It illustrates one of the problems of a government-run pension system where outflows are determined in part by the decisions of thousands of individual participants: you can't make disruptive changes in the system without potentially affecting short-run outflows. That means the program itself is subject to a constraint that may not be built into actuarial models.

The actuarial models used in relation to Kentucky Retirement Systems, thankfully, typically assume that when a worker retires that they take full advantage of just about every benefit offered and will maximize their pension and then retire. That is, they make fairly conservative assumptions about the retirement timing decision of the average worker.

But in Kentucky, like the federal government, workers can retire early and thus begin collecting pensions (albeit smaller pensions) at a younger age. A decision en masse by Kentucky's government workers to take early retirement would devastate KRS's finances in the short run and could obligate taxpayers (through the General Assembly and county governments) to far larger pensions payments in the short run. That's why I argue that any reform of the pension system should not affect the decision environment for current workers who participate in KRS's programs.

May 20, 2011

Let's Get Rid of the Elected Agriculture Commissioner

We do not often find common ground with the liberal editorial board of the Lexington Herald Leader, but it happens on occasion.

In their recent editorial calling for candidates to campaign on ideas about Kentucky's future (obviously ignoring Senate President David Williams' efforts this session), they noted Bob Farmer's victory was pretty convenient. As we noted earlier this week:

Last night, Robert "Bob" Farmer won the Democratic nomination for Agriculture Commissioner. In a victory that can be significantly attributed to ballot placement and "best-sounding name advantage", he won a five-way primary against opponents with more funding than him.

The Herald Leader used this result as an example to advocate for the elimination of the elected office!

In the Democratic race for agriculture commissioner, the victory of a Louisville marketing exec, Bob* Farmer, almost certainly on the basis of his name, provides fresh evidence for why voters should send the elected ag commissioner the way of railroad commissioner and other 19th century relics and eliminate the position by constitutional amendment.

Great! While we're at it, lets do the same for the Treasurer!

*The editorial actually said "Bill" but we've corrected it for them.

Employment Trends and Rates

Unemployment in Kentucky inched downwards this month:

Kentucky's unemployment rate fell to 10 percent in April, down from 10.2 percent a month earlier.

The state added 3,800 jobs in the month, as "Kentucky's economy continued to show signs of improvement in April 2011 led by strength in the manufacturing sector," said Justine Detzel, chief labor market analyst for the state Office of Employment and Training.

The state's unemployment rate in April continued to outpace the national rate of 9 percent, which increased from 8.8 percent in March. Since February 2009, Kentucky's jobless rate has been below 10 percent just once, in July 2010.

For the month, Kentucky's job gains came in eight of the 11 major industries.

Leading the gains was the manufacturing sector, which added 2,500 jobs. Since April 2010, employment in the manufacturing sector has climbed by 5,700 positions.

Kentucky's trend reflects the national trend. Three-quarters of states saw decreases in unemployment in April.

The unemployment rate fell last month in more than three-quarters of nation's states, evidence that companies are feeling more confident in the U.S. economy.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate dropped in 39 states in April. That's an improvement from March when 34 states had reported decreases. The rate rose in three states and the District of Columbia. It was unchanged in eight states.

Employers added workers in 42 states. Only eight states and the District of Columbia lost jobs last month.

Nationally, businesses have added more than 250,000 jobs per month, on average, in the past three months. It's the fastest hiring spree in five years. The unemployment rate has dropped nearly a full percentage point since November. Still, it remains very high at 9 percent.

250,000 jobs per month is 100,000 jobs above the 150,000 level necessary to keep up with population growth and keep unemployment from increasing.

May 19, 2011

Kentucky Author Says Tea Party Needs a Karl Rove

Kentucky novelist Rick Robinson takes a look at Kentucky's Republican primary results Tuesday and concludes that the Tea Party in Kentucky needs a Karl Rove-type political strategist who can recruit better candidates to have an electoral impact. From his essay:

Those active in the Tea Party will not like hearing this, but they need to better understand the mechanics of politics. An organized party is against everything in the movement's wheelhouse. The results in Kentucky indicate how quickly the political landscape can change.

Last year, many in the Tea Party chastised Karl Rove over his comments about the electability of candidates like Christine O'Donnell. They let their distaste of politics and those who make a living at it stand in the way of campaign reality. Today they refuse to admit that Rove was right. They are probably appalled to think that they need people like him to win.

Rand Paul "got it" last year. After winning the primary, Paul shed his initial campaign team and put together a group of seasoned political professionals who understood the mechanics of winning a fall election. There was quite a bit of friction between the hired guns and the volunteers. Paul knew he needed both and made it work.

Team Paul raised money and pushed voters to the poll on a strong message and grassroots organization. He ran a real campaign.

Good ideas are fine for think tank panel debates and crafting white papers. But good ideas don't win campaigns. Guys like Karl Rove do.

Where is the Tea Party Strongest in Kentucky?

Thanks to Phil Moffett and Jake at pageoneky.com, we now have a map:

Blue is Bobbie Holsclaw, green is Phil Moffett, Purple is David Williams, and brown is a tie in Calloway Co.

Since Moffett had nearly complete support of the Tea Party, the green counties can stand in to represent Tea Party strength.

May 18, 2011

Who is Dem Agriculture Nominee "Bob" Farmer?

Last night, Robert "Bob" Farmer won the Democratic nomination for Agriculture Commissioner. In a victory that can be significantly attributed to ballot placement and "best-sounding name advantage", he won a five-way primary against opponents with more funding than him.

Before the election, he apparently put together an ad.

Beshear Continues to Waste His Campaign Dollars

In April, we noted how astonishing it was that Gov. Steve Beshear had already flitted through one-third of his $4.8 million in campaign donations without even getting to the expensive part of the campaign.

He's already spent more than 30% of his campaign funds without even starting serious advertising, which is the predominant expense of any campaign. Looks like he spends his campaign funds like he spends our tax dollars.

Now we learn he's ready to waste hundreds of thousands more:

Less than 12 hours after the Republicans crowned their gubernatorial nominee, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear tapped into his expansive campaign warchest and made a three-week TV ad buy starting Monday.

Beshear bought more than $90,000 worth of ad time in the Louisville, Lexington and Owensboro cable markets. The ads are set to run from May 23 to June 12, according to public ad files with Insight Communications, which is cn|2's parent company.

This is money wasted. As one media consultant once put it, you don't see champaign advertisements all year, only as New Year's approaches. Political advertisements adhere to the same logic. The public is not paying attention now and the impact of spending $90,000 now is virtually zero.

The 10% turnout yesterday is the strongest evidence of how little of the Kentucky public is paying attention to electoral politics right now. While the ads may generate discussion among pundits and the media, they will be forgotten by the time people actually start making their decisions in October. No good can come of them, although there is some possibility the ads could somehow backfire and damage his campaign.

We won't even get into the Kentucky Democratic Party's $85,000 donation to Beshear's personal transportation budget.

Beshear loved Obama's failed stimulus, didn't really care about Kentucky's lowered credit rating, and even spends his campaign funds recklessly.

It is not a pretty record to defend.

What's Wrong with Adam Edelen?

It's a long list.

From John Cheves:

But much of Edelen's money comes from well-connected insiders that an auditor is responsible for investigating. They include Beshear's political appointees, state and local elected officials, Frankfort lobbyists and highway contractors.

For example, one Edelen donor is Joseph Evans, an executive with James River Coal Co. of Richmond, Va. Luallen issued a critical audit in February that said the state broke the law by giving public land to James River Coal at the company's request so it could mine under an existing highway. The state has acknowledged errors in that case.

"It looks like Adam's political connections are paying off for him now. But it might not pay off for the public if he's elected auditor and he's way too close to his donors," said Richard Beliles, state chairman of Common Cause, a watchdog group.

"To have raised nearly a half-million dollars for this office already -- good gosh, it's going to be difficult for him to investigate people if they've given him money and he's counting on their support again in the future," Beliles said. "Couldn't the Democratic Party have come up with more of an outside reformer for this race?"

...

In 2009, while Edelen was the governor's chief of staff, the Herald-Leader reported that he, lobbyist Bob Babbage and a man named Ralph Coldiron were partners in a real estate business that Babbage had failed to disclose as required to state ethics officials.

Coldiron -- after telling Edelen in an email that "I need to keep cash coming in the door" -- was given an $80,000-a-year political appointment by the governor, and then a $20,000 raise, which violated state pay procedures.

Following the Herald-Leader's stories, Coldiron resigned from state government, Babbage corrected his ethics disclosures, and Edelen and Babbage dissolved their partnership. Emails showed that Edelen met at the Capitol with Babbage and his lobbying clients while the two men did business together privately.

May 17, 2011

VOTE in the 2011 Primary Today

Go Vote!

Polls are open from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM

If you need to find out where to vote or who you can vote for, visit the State Board of Election's Voter Information Center.

We've published summary reviews of the contested races:

After the polls close at 6:00 PM, you can view the election results here.

May 16, 2011

KyCFG Voter Guide: Republican Nomination for Governor

As the primary election approaches tomorrow, we thought we'd collect some informational resources in one place. Here are some media and some of our notes on the candidates running for the Republican nomination for Governor and their Lt. Governor running mates.

Candidate: Bobbie Holsclaw
Running Mate: Bill Vermillion

A few things we've written about Holsclaw we'd recommend reading:
Holsclaw Announces Platform
Holsclaw's Bad Company
Holsclaw Starts Off on Wrong Foot

From the Media:

Long odds don't faze GOP hopeful Bobbie Holsclaw - Courier-Journal

GOP candidate Bobbie Holsclaw signs no-tax pledge but defends fee increases - CN2 Politics

Candidate: Phil Moffett
Running Mate: Mike Harmon

A few things we've written about Moffett we'd recommend reading:
Moffett Rounds Up Tea Party Endorsements, Support
Phil Moffett's Tax Reform Plan -- Simplify
The Republican Candidates on Tax Incentives and Reforms

From the Media:

Long shot Phil Moffett a favorite of tea party - Courier-Journal

Phil Moffett's distrust of government fuels his run for governor - Herald Leader

Candidate: David Williams
Running Mate: Richie Farmer

A few things we've written about Williams we'd recommend reading:
Senate President David Williams: The Taxpayer's Firewall
Tax Hikes to Rush Through Assembly
First Session Over, Taxpayers Winning
Richie Farmer Drags David Williams Down

Media summaries of the race:

Three vie for GOP gubernatorial nomination - Courier Journal

Candidate Questionnaire from the Herald Leader

KyCFG Voter Guide: Republican Nomination for Secretary of State

As the primary election approaches tomorrow, we thought we'd collect some informational resources in one place. Here are some media and some of our notes on the candidates running for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State.

Candidate: Bill Johnson
One thing we've written about Johnson we'd recommend reading:
SOS Candidate Bill Johnson Is on the Radio.

Candidate: Hilda Legg
One thing we've written about Legg we'd recommend reading:
Endorsements and Ads for Legg.

Legg says she wouldn't want to increase campaign donation limits, favors paper ballots - CN2 Politics

Media summaries of the race:

GOP Secretary of State candidates Legg and Johnson spar over experience, platforms - CN2 Politics

Secretary of State hopefuls square off in Kentucky primaries - Courier Journal

Candidate Questionnaire from the Herald Leader

KyCFG Voter Guide: Democratic Nomination for Secretary of State

As the primary election approaches tomorrow, we thought we'd collect some informational resources in one place. Here are some media and some of our notes on the candidates running for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State.

Candidate: Alison Grimes
One thing we've written about Grimes we'd recommend reading:
Grimes Petty, Hates Being Associated With 37% of Kentucky Voters.

Alison Lundergan Grimes campaigns across the state, points out endorsements and places she's visited - CN2 Politics

Candidate: Elaine Walker
One thing we've written about Walker we'd recommend reading:
Secretary of State Elaine Walker Creating Another New Spending Program We Can't Afford.

Elaine Walker touts experience, small business ownership as she heads toward Tuesday primary - CN2 Politics

Media summaries of the race:

Democratic candidates for Secretary of State tout experience, credentials - CN2 Politics

Secretary of State hopefuls square off in Kentucky primaries - Courier Journal

Candidate Questionnaire from the Herald Leader

KyCFG Voter Guide: Republican Nomination for State Auditor

As the primary election approaches tomorrow, we thought we'd collect some informational resources in one place. Here are some media and some of our notes on the candidates running for the Republican nomination for State Auditor.

Candidate: John Kemper
One thing we've written about Kemper we'd recommend reading:
John Kemper to Sign Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Candidate: Addia Wuchner
One thing we've written about Wuchner we'd recommend reading:
Wuchner Endorsed by Bunning

Media summaries of the race:

GOP auditor race: Kemper explains his bankrupcy, Wuchner rejects notion she wants a 'nanny state' - CN2 Politics

GOP auditor candidates: one in bankruptcy, other was unable to work - Herald Leader

Kentucky auditor candidates call for more transparency - Courier Journal

Candidate Questionnaire from the Herald Leader

KyCFG Voter Guide: Democratic Nomination for State Treasurer

As the primary election approaches tomorrow, we thought we'd collect some informational resources in one place. Here are some media and some of our notes on the candidates running for the Democratic nomination for State Treasurer.

Candidate: Steve Hamrick
One thing we've written about Hamrick we'd recommend reading:
Some Indecisive Man Files to Primary Incumbent Treasurer.

Candidate: Todd Hollenback
One thing we've written about Hollenback we'd recommend reading:
We have not written about Todd Hollenback.

Media summaries of the race:

Democrat Hollenbach faces primary challenger Hamrick for Kentucky treasurer - Courier Journal

Candidate Questionnaire from the Herald Leader

KyCFG Voter Guide: Republican Nomination for Agriculture Commissioner

As the primary election approaches tomorrow, we thought we'd collect some informational resources in one place. Here are some media and some of our notes on the candidates running for the Republican nomination for Commissioner of Agriculture.

Candidate: James Comer
One thing we've written about Comer we'd recommend reading:
Fighting the Good Budget Fight

Rep. Comer calls for transparency as part of Ag commissioner platform - CN2 Politics

Candidate: Rob Rothenburger
One thing we've written about Rothenburger we'd recommend reading:
We have not written about Rob Rothenburger.

Newly-filed Ag Commish candidate Rob Rothenburger pledges to raise visibility - CN2 Politics

Media summaries of the race:

Seven candidates vying for commissioner of agriculture - Herald Leader

Budget will be big priority for next Kentucky agriculture chief - Courier Journal

Candidate Questionnaire from the Herald Leader

KyCFG Voter Guide: Democratic Nomination for Commissioner of Agriculture

As the primary election approaches tomorrow, we thought we'd collect some informational resources in one place. Here are some media and some of our notes on the candidates running for the Democratic nomination for Commissioner of Agriculture.

Candidate: Bob Farmer
One thing we've written about Farmer we'd recommend reading:
We have not written about Bob Farmer.

Democrat Bob Farmer bases run for ag commissioner on marketing experience - CN2 Politics

Candidate: Stewart Gritton
One thing we've written about Gritton we'd recommend reading:
We have not really written about Stewart Gritton, but we mention him here.

Democratic candidate Stewart Gritton says Richie Farmer has been a 'great help' to KY farms - CN2 Politics

Candidate: John Lackey
One thing we've written about Lackey we'd recommend reading:
Dem. Ag. Commissioner Candidate Wants to Stand Up for Obama

Candidate: David Williams
One thing we've written about Williams we'd recommend reading:
Williams is on the bottom of the list here.

Candidate: B. D. Wilson
One thing we've written about Wilson we'd recommend reading:
Ag Commissioner Candidate Releases TV Ad

Ag commish candidate B.D. Wilson calls for tax break on horse feed - CN2 Politics

Media summaries of the race:

Seven candidates vying for commissioner of agriculture - Herald Leader

Budget will be big priority for next Kentucky agriculture chief - Courier Journal

Candidate Questionnaire from the Herald Leader

May 13, 2011

The Republican Candidates on Tax Incentives and Reforms

The AP did one last roundup of the three candidates vying to be the Republican candidate for Governor, and went into detail about their philosophies on tax incentives and tax reform.

Bobbie Holsclaw, keeping in form with her record of meaningless or disappointing statements only offered:

"We need to restructure our tax code to make it more enticing for companies of all types to locate to Kentucky."

This is true, of course. But she suggested that she opposed using tax incentives because she felt the state treasury could not afford to offer tax breaks, providing another example suggesting to us that she harbors a first impulse to raise government revenues rather than cut spending.

Holsclaw saw another problem with the incentives programs.

"We currently do not have enough reserve money to offer competitive incentives to relocate to our state," she wrote.

Holsclaw talks about a lack of state government revenue way too often for our comfort.

David Williams noted that tax incentives have helped attract businesses to Kentucky...

"There's no doubt that incentives have sometimes helped Kentucky attract good projects," Williams said.

...and continued with the right answer.

"But of course we'll never know how many companies never even consider Kentucky because our tax system renders us uncompetitive."

Williams said the state has to dangle economic incentives in front of business prospects because of its "antiquated, anti-growth tax structure." He said the state's tax code is one of the biggest impediments to job creation in Kentucky.

"It is past time that we had a governor with enough political courage to tackle this important issue," Williams wrote.

Phil Moffett also offered the right response.

"The sooner we stop playing the tax incentives game, the faster we can move forward with real tax reform," he wrote.

And then he offered a line we're likely to steal as a motto for our blog:

"Government shouldn't have any role in determining relative worthiness of legal businesses."

Perfectly stated.

May 12, 2011

Moffett Only Candidate With Movement in Election Eve Poll

WHAS11 revealed the results of a new Survey USA poll to follow up on the poll they conducted in April.

In April, Williams-Farmer collected 49% of the vote and Holsclaw-Vermillion collected 12%. In the new poll, these numbers were largely unchanged, with Williams-Farmer at 47% and Holsclaw-Vermillion at 12%.

The only campaign with movement is the Moffett-Harmon ticket which has risen from 14% in April to 21% in the new poll.

It is a statement of Moffett's momentum and the fact that Williams, the candidate with the highest name ID is not picking up undecided voters as they decide. It would be interesting to know how many of the "undecided" are aware of the Williams-Farmer ticket yet still undecided. Williams has also not picked up any of the vote despite releasing their first television ad one month ago.

Despite all of this, Williams' margin in this poll is still substantial and will be difficult for his opponents to close.

Endorsements and Ads for Legg

With the primary just days away, information and media are rolling at a fast clip.

In the Republican primary for Secretary of State, Hilda Legg has released a number of recent endorsements, and is also on the air.

Her supporters include the mixed-bag of NKY County Judge-Executives in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties.

In a statement from the Legg campaign, Boone Judge-executive Gary Moore said he believes Legg can win in November.

"We need to continue to build on the progress of (Boone County native) Trey Grayson in the Secretary of State's office and I think Hilda is the most qualified candidate to do that," he said.

Campbell Judge Executive Steve Pendery said, "Kentucky needs her experience and expertise in economic development."

And Kenton Judge-executive Steve Arlinghaus said in the statement that he believes Legg will bring "a wealth of knowledge to the office that is unrivaled", and she's the party's best bet in the general election.

Endorsements generally don't significantly impact an election, especially among the well-informed base of a low-turnout primary (and who knows which way an endorsement from CJE Moore will actually sway Boone Co primary voters). But it is an opportunity for greater name ID for Legg, who probably must overcome the preference for "familiar-sounding names" that former Secretary of State Trey Grayson describes.

She also has announced endorsements from several members of the state legislature. Here are the endorsers, with their ranks and scores from the 2010 Club for Growth Legislative Scorecard.

Member 2010 Rank 2010 Score
Sen. Julie Denton 4/38 63%
Sen. Brandon Smith 10/38 59%
Sen. Tom Jensen 11/38 57%
Sen. Vernie McGaha 23/38 53%
Rep. Tommy Turner 14/100 59%
Rep. Bam Carney 17/100 58%
Rep. Ron Crimm 31/100 39%
Rep. C.B. Embry 33/100 47%

With maybe one exception, these endorsers represent a broad survey of Republican legislators who do not stand up for Kentucky's taxpayers often enough. (Standing up for the taxpayer less than 60% of the time is hardly support the taxpayers can count on.)

Hilda does, however, hold a fundraising advantage over her opponent, which she is using to improve her name ID by running ads on TV and the radio.

Here's the television ad:

Trey Grayson Predicts Williams Win, Other Primary Results

On CN2 Politics, Ryan Alessi interviews Trey Grayson who made predictions for Tuesday's primary results.

He picks Williams to win based substantially on his previously-existing name ID and his funding to increase his name ID.

Grayson goes on to agree with the CN2 poll that has John Kemper and Bill Johnson ahead in the races for Auditor and Secretary of State, respectively, also based on the name ID and "best-sounding name" advantage they hold over their opponents Rep. Addia Wuchner and Hilda Legg.

He suggests that Legg has enough funding to make an effort to raise her name ID, but he isn't confident that it's enough.

On the Democratic side of the ballot, he notes both Sec. Elaine Walker and Alison Grimes have low name ID but funding available in the primary race for Secretary of State. He says he wouldn't be surprised to see Walker win based on party factions, an adequate amount of funding to help control her destiny, and the value of the earned media she will generate in her capacity as Secretary of State in the advent of the election.

Read the article and watch the interview here.

May 9, 2011

State-Mandated Collective Bargaining in Lexington Unaccountably Increases Taxpayers' Costs

Lexington City Councilman Doug Martin noted in a recent column that state-mandated collective bargaining rights for firefighters, police and corrections officers in Lexington has rapidly increased labor costs for the city:

Numerous and serious financial issues affected by collective bargaining demand the attention of the Urban County Council. Between FY 2002 and FY 2011, the Department of Public Safety's total share of LFUCG's general budget increased from 45 percent to 56 percent. This has caused reductions in the funding of other LFUCG departments and partner agencies. Also, since FY 2007, average salaries have increased 17.6 percent at Community Corrections, 26.5 percent at the Division of Police and 31 percent at the Division of Fire & Emergency Services. But there are other issues tied to collective bargaining - a 39 percent disability rate for LFUCG's public safety employees (compared to 8 percent for the rest of Kentucky), a broken overtime system that the Fire Department's own leadership says results from collective bargaining, and a $325 million obligation for the Police & Fire Pension Fund.

But that's not even the punchline.

Not only is this state mandate exploding costs for the taxpayers of Lexington, but the Lexington city council has no say in the process.

Most of what is spent or received by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) − from a bucket of dirt all the way to construction contracts for Clays Mill Road − requires two readings and a vote by the Urban County Council. However, since the adoption of collective bargaining by the General Assembly in 2004, the Urban County Council has not been allowed to review or vote on collective bargaining agreements.

Mr. Martin concludes:

However you choose to interpret Lexington's collective bargaining statute, we cannot afford to write a blank check to any LFUCG department, especially one that makes up 56 percent of our general budget.

He's right. It's time to make the council responsible for the entire budget.

Not Only Is Kentucky the Worst-Run State in the Country...

Kentucky is not only the worst-run state in the country, but we also have the biggest problems.

Kentucky has also been rated as the least-responsible pension fund in the country.

According to 24/7 Wall Street,

The state of Kentucky's extremely underfunded pension account, coupled with its recent poor contributions to that account, place it as the worst-off state for pension funding. Kentucky only has 58% of its pension costs funded, the fourth-lowest percentage in the country. In 2009, the state contributed 58% of what was recommended for the fund by state actuaries, the third-lowest percentage in the country. Furthermore, Kentucky, which is one of the few state's with 2010 pension data, paid only 54% of its pension liabilities last year. Two financial rating agencies, Moody's and Fitch, recently downgraded the state's bond rating due to its underfunded pension system.

We wrote recently that the Pew Center on the States estimates Kentucky's underfunding of its commitments to equal about $1 billion annually.

The state would have to dedicate an additional $1 billion to this obligation to fund it adequately. That represents 12% of the FY 2011 budget. This is a crisis, and must be addressed by real reforms, not just commitments to do better in the future.

It's time for our leaders to get serious.

May 6, 2011

Kentucky Receives Middle Rank for Business Environment, Indiana Leaps Ahead

In ChiefExecutive.net's annual rankings of best and worst states for business, Kentucky was ranked #17 for 2011, up from #23 in 2010. Kentucky's improvement remains improvement through inaction, as other states have recently raised taxes and fees to meet budget shortfalls, making Kentucky relatively better.

Meanwhile, Indiana leaped from #16 to #6, leaving Kentucky in the dust.

Also of note, Texas (#1), Florida (#3) and Tennessee (#4) all have no income taxes.

Here are other interesting notes from the article.

While the Lone Star State may not be perfect--many leaders would like to see improvements in its education system--it is Periclean Athens compared to California in the eyes of the 550 CEOs surveyed for Chief Executive's seventh annual report on the best and worst states in which to do business. It's the seventh time in seven years running that Texas has led the states, and the seventh year California--to no one's great surprise--ranked as worst state.

But there has been some jockeying within the ranks. The Golden State was closely followed in the hall of shame by New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Michigan, with Illinois elbowing its way past New Jersey this year for the dubious distinction of third worst. Meanwhile, among the best states, Indiana jumped to sixth place from 16th in 2010, giving Hoosiers the third-biggest advance in the rankings in a single year.

Wisconsin and Louisiana posted the two biggest gains since 2010, with the latter, along with Oklahoma, also showing the biggest gains over the last five years. By proactively reshaping its posture toward business taxation and regulation, Louisiana has been quietly stealing pages from the Texas playbook.

By contrast, Illinois has dropped 40 places in five years and is now in a death spiral. Its bond ranking is 49th, ahead of only California. The state may play host to fugitive state senators from nearby Wisconsin and Indiana who avoid voting in their home legislatures, but businesses are heading for the exits. Doug Oberhelman, CEO of Peoria-based Caterpillar, is raising the specter of moving the heavy equipment maker out of Illinois. In a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn, he wrote, "The direction that this state is headed in is not favorable to business, and I'd like to work with you to change that."

We're interested in the fact that we've followed the same trends here on this blog. We cheered On Wisconsin! for its ongoing reform efforts, and wrote the exact same thing about Illinois very recently.

CN2 Releases Republican Primary Polling - Many Undecideds

CN2 released polling yesterday that showed a significant number of Republican voters remain undecided about the primary election on May 17th.

In the governor's race, the polling reveals about the same results at the SurveyUSA poll in April and suggesting that what little media has been bought hasn't been airing enough to get voters' attention yet.

The slate of state Senate President David Williams and Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer received support from 38.8% of respondents. They have been airing radio spots since the last week in March and went up on television in select cable markets about three weeks ago to get their names out to GOP voters.

Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and his running mate, state Rep. Mike Harmon of Danville, who have aggressively courted support from the tea party movement, were next with more than 13%.

Moffett said his campaign plans to start airing radio ads either Monday or Tuesday.

And Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw and her running mate, U.S. Navy veteran Bill Vermillion, garnered more than 11%.

About a third of respondents said they were still unsure about how to vote while about 4% refused to make a pick for a total of 36.6% who haven't picked a side.

CN2 also polled the Republican races for Auditor, Secretary of State and Commissioner of Agriculture, which even more strongly revealed that voters are very unfamiliar with the candidates.

Below, Barefoot and Progressive provides the results and some pretty sound analysis:

Auditor
John Kemper- 24.5%
Addia Wuchner- 5.1%

Secretary of State
Some Dude Named Bill Johnson- 32.3%
Hilda Legg- 8.4%

Commissioner of Agriculture
James Comer- 22.2%
Rob Rothenburger- 13.3%

OK, a few thoughts on these numbers.

...there is a bit of distance in two of the races. Johnson shows a comfortable lead, which makes sense considering he has tea party support and did a good deal of campaigning statewide last year when he ran for US Senate. The Kemper lead is a little surprising, though, as he is literally a nobody. But Kemper does at least have support among the people of tea. So these numbers could reflect that the tea monsters are the only Republicans paying attention right now and the only ones who know who the hell these people are, hence the hefty lead by Johnson and Kemper. The factor that is sure to even these races out a bit is money, as Legg and Wuchner hold huge fundraising leads and will be able buy a good deal more radio/TV ads than their opponents. Too soon to speculate if that will be enough, but I would imagine these races will be relatively close.

The Ag race is pretty close, but Comer has the endorsement of every Republican group, every establishment Republican, and gobs more money, enough to air ads statewide already. This one really shouldn't be a contest.

May 5, 2011

Beshear to Attend Oaks Race Rather Than Join President in Congratulating Soldiers

We know Derby weekend is a big deal, but so is President Obama making HIS FIRST visit to Kentucky to congratulate our service men and women who supported the Navy SEAL team that caught Osama bin Laden.

Governor Beshear has chosen to attend the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill all day tomorrow, rather than taking a moment off to visit our armed forces with the President.

Do you think his priorities are straight?

From the Herald-Leader:

Gov. Steve Beshear will not accompany President Barack Obama on Friday when Obama visits Fort Campbell to greet soldiers who have returned from Afghanistan.

"Unfortunately, the president's visit was not confirmed until late last night - too late to make arrangements in the governor's schedule, considering his Oaks Day obligations," said Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson when asked why Beshear will not be with the president, a fellow Democrat.

Obama, who is not popular in Kentucky, will be making his first visit to Kentucky as president....

Helicopter pilots from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, which has a battalion at Fort Campbell, supported the SEALS team that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last Sunday.

James Comer for Agriculture Commissioner Launches Radio Ads

Just as the top fund-raising Democratic candidate for Agriculture Commissioner launched a TV ad yesterday, the top Republican released two radio ads.

From myCN2:

And

 

May 4, 2011

Ag Commissioner Candidate Releases TV Ad

With the primary less than two weeks away, Democratic Commissioner of Agriculture Candidate B.D. Wilson released a television ad.

Via pageonekentucky.com:

In the five-way primary, Wilson is the best funded candidate so far, although his opponent, Stewart Gritton, is not far behind and is the preferred candidate of Governor Beshear.

Rep. Jim Gooch "Likes" Conway But Conway "is not standing up for Kentuckians"

Wow. Rep. Jim Gooch says he "likes" Jack Conway...before he completely rejects him.

From mycn2:

Gooch said he did not speak to Conway, a fellow Democrat, about support for Conway's re-election bid. Gooch added that he personally liked Conway, but didn't support Conway's positions.

"I think generally too often (Conway) tries to support things President Obama comes up with, like health care reform," Gooch said in a phone interview. "... We need someone in that office who will fight Obama and his policies. I believe that's what many Kentuckians want. Anyone not standing up to (Obama's) agenda is not standing up for Kentuckians."

Alessi Catches Holsclaw Spokesperson Faking Name

On Monday night's KET discussion among Republican Lt. Governor candidates, our viewing party amused ourselves making pop song references when "George Michael" called in from Louisville. Caller "Michael" used his opportunity to challenge candidate Richie Farmer on the recent reports of his bad spending habits. Reporter Ryan Alessi thought he recognized the voice of "George Michael" as someone else.

The consultant who is serving as spokesman for one Republican slate called into the lieutenant governor candidate debate on Kentucky Educational Television under another name to ask a pointed question of rival lieutenant governor candidate Richie Farmer.

Mike Karem has been working on behalf of the GOP ticket of Bobbie Holsclaw and her running mate, Bill Vermillion.

He confirmed to Pure Politics that he called the KET lieutenant governor candidate debate using the name "George Michael" of Louisville to ask Farmer about some of his spending as Agriculture Commissioner, including a trip last year to a conference in the Virgin Islands and a purchase of new vehicles.

If it weren't funny enough that Holsclaw had her spokesperson call in under a fake name to attack her opponent, check out his explanation as to why he didn't use his real name:

After realizing the voice of the questioner sounded familiar, I called Karem to ask if he was the caller.

He confirmed he was. Karem said he decided to use a false name because he had called into other programs to ask questions of candidates and received threats afterward.

"Literally, I got threats," he said. "I've gotten emails and phone calls."

He said he didn't take the threats seriously enough to notify the police.

May 3, 2011

Richie Farmer Strikes Again

Lt. Governor candidate Richie Farmer is certainly new to the "conservative Republican" thing.

He and opposing gubernatorial candidate Bobbie Holsclaw continue to act like fish out of water in this Republican Primary, continually saying and doing things that cause well-founded concern among conservatives.

Holsclaw has championed more government spending and government unions.

Farmer has gone on with spending as usual while the rest of state government cut back, and done so unapologetically.

At least Holsclaw has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, pledging to oppose and veto all efforts to increase taxes.

Richie Farmer has done the opposite.

Last night, asked by Bill Goodman to name a Kentucky governor he admired, Farmer replied that he liked the tax-raising Republican Louie Nunn. But he didn't just say he liked Louie Nunn, he said:

"Louie Nunn is somebody that I have always heard is one of the greatest governors that we've had, and he certainly instituted, I think, a tax system at that point in time that allowed our state to thrive."

He thinks Louie Nunn is great BECAUSE NUNN RAISED TAXES.

We would not be surprised if Farmer, in a follow-up question, said he did not realize that Nunn had raised taxes, and that he personally opposes tax increases. But here's the biggest concern:

While Holsclaw and candidate Phil Moffett have both signed the pledge not to raise taxes, David Williams refuses.

State Budget Surplus Good News for Kentucky Economy

At the end of every fiscal year in June, the state always runs a small surplus. No matter the economic circumstances or budget cuts, because the state is constitutionally required to balance the budget, the state will end up with a few million more at the end of the year. This year is shaping up to have a little more than normal.

The state is projecting a $64 million surplus for the fiscal year that ends June 30, according to a report released Monday by the state budget office.

The state's revenues -- taxes and fees -- are growing faster than the original estimate that the state uses to craft its two-year budget. .But state officials were cautious Monday, saying that any surplus money will first go to pay for emergencies, such as the clean up costs associated with last week's storms that ravaged much of Western Kentucky.

In 2010, the legislature also deemed that any excess funds not used for emergencies would go into the state's rainy day fund, which has been depleted as the state's revenues took a nose dive over the past three years.

An additional $31 million surplus is from coal severance funds, which are coal taxes specifically designated to return to coal counties, but are often inefficiently used by local governments rather than invested in education and infrastructure.

The slightly more economically important news is that the road fund will also run a surplus.

The state's road fund -- which is funded through a host of other gasoline-related taxes and fees and is separate from the state's general fund -- is also expected to have a surplus of $48.9 million.

The fact that Kentuckians are consuming more gas and purchasing more cars than expected are certainly positive economic indicators.

May 2, 2011

A Picture of Our Future

Heritage.org has a great resource for helping anyone understand what our future federal obligations look like that they call the Budget Chart Book. Here's a foreboding sample.

That's the future of federal spending.

National Club for Growth Releases 2010 Scorecards

The national Club for Growth has released its Legislative Scorecards for 2010. Some surprises for the Kentucky delegation:

Legislator District Rank Score Lifetime
Senators
McConnell KY 16 90% 85%
Bunning KY (Retired) 18 90% 89%
Representatives
H. Rogers 5 114 84% 68%
B. Guthrie 2 123 84% 81%
G. Davis 4 123 84% 74%
E. Whitfield 1 164 68% 61%
Chandler 6 202 30% 18%
Yarmuth 3 435 0% 1%

No Kentucky Senators or Representatives scored above 90% in 2010 and had lifetime scores above 90% to receive recognition as a 'Defender of Economic Freedom' in 2010, although Sen. Jim Bunning was pretty close. Rep. John Yarmuth continues to amaze with a score of ZERO, meaning he never once agreed with low-tax or low-spending policies.

Holsclaw's Bad Company

In an eariler post, we criticized Republican candidate for governor Bobbie Holsclaw for standing with Democrats and Unions in Wisconsin instead of standing with conservatives trying to get budgets under control.

Holsclaw told Alessi that public employees should be granted the opportunity to collectively bargain:

Also in the second segment, Holsclaw also answered questions about potential initiatives regarding unions and organized labor in other states.

"Unions are just about trying to make people's lives better," she said. And she said state employees should be allowed to push for collective bargaining rights -- which currently are just reserved for the teacher's union and certain police and fire fighters unions.

"I guess if they want them, they might be able to have them," she said.

She also twice demurred when given an opportunity to champion making Kentucky a Right-to-Work state (as Right-to-Work legislation advances in the Indiana legislature).

Now, Hosclaw is reaping the rewards of her pro-union stance.

Teachers from the state's largest school district are getting behind Republican Bobbie Holsclaw in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

The Jefferson County Teacher's Association announced Holsclaw's endorsement on Thursday, as did two other Louisville labor groups, the United Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

Standing with Democratic constituencies and against Republican ones is not a typical strategy to win a Republican primary.

Employment Trends and Rates
Unemployment in Kentucky inched downwards this month: Kentucky's unemployment rate fell to 10 percent in April, down from 10.2 percent a month earlier. The state added 3,800 jobs in the month, as "Kentucky's economy continued to show signs of improvement...

State Budget Surplus Good News for Kentucky Economy
At the end of every fiscal year in June, the state always runs a small surplus. No matter the economic circumstances or budget cuts, because the state is constitutionally required to balance the budget, the state will end up with...

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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.