Can’t tax our way out of this

A sobering Stateline article Tuesday about closing auto dealerships only strengthens the case for cutting the size of state government immediately:

“Consider that a fifth of California’s sales tax revenue is from new and used car sales.”
“As these local dealerships close, the impact will be more profound than people realize,” said Sen. Mark Norris, the Republican Senate majority leader in Tennessee. Chrysler is planning to close 14 dealerships in his state.”
“To improve profits, Chrysler, which has filed for bankruptcy protection, said it will close 789 dealerships throughout the country by June 9. GM has not released the list of 1,200 dealers it plans to shutter.”

Read the rest here.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s common practice has been to set up blue ribbon commissions in the face of challenging problems. That is the very least he could do here.

Care and feeding of a North Carolina billionaire

Business Week magazine has an article about ten of the wealthiest people in America. On this list is a North Carolina man some in Frankfort still want to make a massive recipient of Kentucky’s corporate welfare dollars.

Socialize me systematically


Tastes like a game of chicken

California voters decided Wednesday to force state lawmakers to cut spending rather than vote in massive tax increases on themselves.

State officials responded by “threatening” to cut spending.

The feds are very likely to respond with a huge California bailout, which is a shame. After listening to all the big government caterwauling about inevitable disaster if spending is cut, we really need to see a state drive straight into fiscal responsibility just to prove that it can be done.

But who knows? Maybe Kentucky will do it.

Will Illinois import Kentucky’s pension idiocy?

Kentucky has spent much of the last three decades blowing up our public employee benefits plan, creating a $30 billion-and-growing unfunded liability. Illinois’s Gov. Pat Quinn wants to spend the next three decades doing the same in the name of saving money.

Quinn’s move is really just a much bigger bite of the apple Kentucky has nibbled at twice in the last twelve months.

I can hear the Obama Magic Bailout Machine getting revved up for this trainwreck already.

Do you know about school vouchers?

Jay P. Greene points out strong editorial support for the Washington D.C. school voucher program, which really is surprising.

The rest of his post is here.

At least until Kentucky taxpayers can get some evidence their tax dollars are being spent efficiently in schools, students and parents here would do well to learn more about school choice options. The success of the D.C. school voucher program — and President Barack Obama’s eagerness to shut it down — should provide food for thought.

Like we need another hole in our heads

Congressional Democrats have been talking about a federal guarantee for state and local government bonded debt for a while now.

Unfortunately for taxpayers, that plan just isn’t moving along fast enough.

Given that borrowing in the municipal market is Kentucky’s preferred method of overspending, our politicians will surely be on board with this fiscally irresponsible plan to federalize state and local obligations. And, of course, California’s big spenders will breathe easier. But this is the worst idea — so far — in a growing string of bad ideas for Americans.

Governor deserves better information source

Gov. Steve Beshear is never going to get his act straight on Kentucky’s Davis-Bacon requirements if he gets his news from The Louisville Courier Journal.

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson deserves credit for his veto of an ordinance requiring union wages for certain city construction projects. A similar move on the state level would save us all hundreds of millions of dollars. There’s no telling how silly the paper’s upcoming editorials on this matter will be, given reporter Dan Klepal’s false reference to the issue as one relating to “minimum wages.”

Any union thug could tell Mr. Klepal there is a huge difference between their earnings and minimum wage. Aren’t newspapers supposed to have editors and fact-checkers?

Caviar on a budget for tuna

Speaking on WHAS 840 AM in Louisville this morning, Gov. Steve Beshear dismissed a question about repealing prevailing wage requirements.

Overspending on taxpayer-paid wages based on political connections simply can’t be justified in the middle of an overspending crisis.

As we await official revenue forecasts due out next week, now is exactly the right time for officials to get realistic about spending priorities.

“But we aren’t as bad as Michigan!”

The Louisville Courier Journal on Monday trumpeted the arrival of two dozen auto workers from Michigan, calling them “economic refugees.” Policymakers here would do well to ignore the cheerleading and, instead, focus on strategies for growth that might keep more of our own people from seeking economic refuge elsewhere.

Really, if doling out economic development deals were actually key to widespread prosperity, Kentucky would already be one of the wealthiest states in the nation. And Michigan would be wealthier still.

Getting Kentucky’s political class out of the business of attempting to pick winners and losers in the marketplace with our tax dollars can’t happen soon enough. The irony of allowing people who can’t stop spending even when the money is gone to make actual business decisions is too expensive to keep missing.