Kentucky is one of only eight states that does not allow charter schools. Why?
Learn about school choice!
This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council released a brand new report on suggestions for states attempting to fight unfunded public pension liabilities.
It’s no coincidence that the report, entitled “Keeping the Promise: Solutions for Government Pension Reform,” suggests many of the same solutions found in the Bluegrass Institute report on Kentucky’s $30 billion public pension liability, which you can review here.
Both reports suggest certain changes that can be made without overhauling a state’s entire pension system. Such inside-the-box changes include tweaking cost-of-living adjustments, ending the practice of “spiking,” and raising the retirement age.
But, as ALEC’s report echoes, true reform comes from thinking outside the box.
More fundamental reforms include implementing market-inspired retirement plans by moving away from defined-benefit plans and moving toward defined-contribution plans in the spirit of the 401(k) found in the private sector.
Of course, there’s still many Kentucky-specific reforms that can be made, not the least of which being the repeal of 2005’s HB 299 which allows legislators a “modern day gold rush” in the form of double, and even triple-dipping, and establishes legislative pensions based not on legislative salaries, but on any salary earned in a government position.
You can read the full ALEC report here.
By D. Eric Schansberg, Ph.D., and member of the Bluegrass Institute Board of Scholars
A prevailing wage is a legal arrangement designed to set minimum compensation for public-sector construction workers at rates above those determined by market supply and demand – typically at rates near “prevailing” compensation for union workers.
Modern-day legislation establishing prevailing – or “common” – wages are state and local versions of the 1931 federal Davis-Bacon Act, and currently exist in 32 states including Kentucky and in six of its seven neighboring states.
The Davis-Bacon Act requires prevailing wages to be imposed on taxpayers for any federal project with a budget over a mere $2,000. However, Kentucky’s minimum project size for imposing prevailing wage laws is significantly higher – though still not incredibly steep – at $250,000.
By definition, prevailing wages are a minimum wage applied to one segment of the labor market. It benefits employees who are able to keep their jobs, but imposes a burden on employers and taxpayers.
Though it’s difficult to calculate the exact extent that prevailing-wage laws increase aggregate costs to overall economic activity, artificially high wages clearly increase project costs significantly on a case-by-case basis.
With their attentions locked on the ensuing football season, Kentuckians must be forgiven if they don’t become excited enough to perform an end-zone jig in response to Gov. Beshear’s recent press release trumpeting more than 100 federally funded new jobs in the commonwealth.
Xerox Corporation is going to use federal taxpayer dollars to hire more than 100 Kentuckians to operate call centers to assist individuals seeking information on the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange.
The jobs are the direct result of Beshear signing on to Obamacare’s health exchange last year, and – in keeping with his, and Kentucky’s, pattern – chasing every federal dollar dangled in front of the Bluegrass State.
Allowing Beshear, or any government body for that matter, to take credit for any job creation here is already more than generous. After all, when’s the last time a politician created a job without first swiping funds for employment from the private sector?
The answer: Never.
Did you know that 88 percent of Kentucky’s black community favors school choice?
And did you know that 82 percent of Kentucky’s black community supports charter schools – after learning about school choice?
Why won’t our elected officials, especially those in the House Education Committee, listen to the Kentuckians who need school choice most? Kentuckians demand school choice!
The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions works with Kentuckians, pro-liberty coalitions, grassroots organizations and business owners to advance freedom and prosperity by promoting free-market capitalism, individual liberty and transparent government. Join Us