Testimony offered to Senate Health and Welfare Committee opposing legislative approval of Kynect and Medicaid expansion

The following is an edited presentation of testimony offered by Bluegrass Institute CEO Jim Waters to the Kentucky Senate Health and Welfare Committee on April 11, 2016, in Frankfort. Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I’m Jim Waters, president of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions at bipps.org. The Bluegrass Institute is a free-market think…

Bluegrass Beacon: Second chances for felons and taxpayers

Editor’s note: This column originally was released to newspapers before passage of House Bill 40, which creates a process giving some low-level criminals a one-time opportunity to apply to a court to have their records expunged following a five-year waiting period and paying a $500 fee after completing their sentences. The column has been updated…

Call to Action: P3 bill may not have tolls, but taxpayers need more protection

While opponents of cronyism succeeded in preventing tolls on the Brent Spence Bridge that connects Kentucky with Ohio and carries Interstates 75 and 71 across the Ohio River from being included in so-called “public-private partnership” legislation passed by both the state House and Senate, there’s still plenty to dislike about House Bill 309. By including…

Tell your representative: Vote for pension transparency

Now that the State Government Committee has approved legislation containing policies that bring more transparency to the Bluegrass State’s troubled pension system, we could have a vote by the full Kentucky House of Representatives when it convenes at 4 p.m. (eastern) today. Despite chairman Brent Yonts’ anti-transparency stance, his committee has sent Senate bills 2…

Bluegrass Beacon: House GOP shows solidarity, challenges the status quo

Editor’s note: This column originally was released to newspapers before the state Senate had passed its budget. It’s been updated to reflect passage of the Senate’s budget. How unfair it was for former Gov. Steve Beshear to claim he was leaving the commonwealth’s bank account in much-better shape than he was handed when, in reality,…

Bluegrass Beacon – ‘Just Say No’: Good for campaigning, bad for governing

Editor’s note: This column originally was released to newspapers before Wednesday’s budget vote in which the House GOP refused in unanimous solidarity to support the Democratic leadership’s plan to undo Gov. Bevin’s proposed spending cuts and Rainy Day fund increases. The voters have spoken. They want politically divided state government for at least the remainder…

Pension transparency: ‘Just’ because taxpayers have the right to know

The year before President Harry Truman made famous the saying: “If you can’t convince ‘em, confuse ‘em,” local Chamber of Commerce representative Richard H. Leask wrote a letter to a Bakersfield, California newspaper in which he added a perceptive twist to that maxim. “There is an old politician’s motto which goes to this effect: ‘If…

Bluegrass Beacon: Clear case for pension transparency takes bizarre turn

Unusual antics occurring on the campaign trail these days include a bizarre race to choose the next president of the Kentucky Education Association (KEA), the state’s teachers’ union. When’s the last time you heard a KEA candidate ask: “Why does KEA oppose transparency?” Randolph Wieck, a history teacher at Louisville’s DuPont Manual High School, did…

Bluegrass Beacon: Don’t put bureaucrats in charge of broadband

Supporters of a government-owned broadband network paint a very bleak picture of the broadband options available throughout Kentucky. The Lexington Herald-Leader recently argued in an editorial that because broadband speeds across the entire commonwealth aren’t as fast as Delaware’s, taxpayers should support former Gov. Steve Beshear’s $350 million scheme known as KentuckyWired. While the editorial…