Jim Waters joins Mandy Connell on WHAS at 10 a.m. this morning for another edition of Bluegrass Mondays. Be sure to tune in and hear about policy issues that affect Kentuckians!
Listen live here.
From the press release:
Auditor Adam Edelen today unveiled a public database and accompanying report that shine new light on special districts, a $2.7 billion layer of government in the Commonwealth that has operated in the shadows for decades.
The auditor’s office has identified more than 1,200 special districts – unelected entities such as libraries, sanitation districts and public health departments that have the ability to fee and tax but operate with little oversight and accountability.
“It is a scandal that for generations no Kentuckian has been able to determine how many special districts exist, how much money flows through them, where they are located and whether they are compliant with state law,” Edelen said.
This is the type of activity that we need more of in Frankfort. Proactive measures to shed preliminary light on agencies and practices that have operated in the dark is always a good thing.
Now the goal is to dig deeper into contracts, budgets, check registers, etc…
You can read the entire report by the auditor’s office here.
No, we didn’t write this. But in the Herald-Leader’s “Putting schools to the test; Much to like in new system, but shortcomings must be addressed” editorial, the newspaper’s editorial staff admits the new system has them “flummoxed” and the entire program could become “irrelevant.”
Some other things concern the editors, and us –
• The very slow rate of progress that will be acceptable in the future. That uninspiring goal simply will not do.
• Setting goals against Kentucky schools only. The Unbridled Learning cut to earn an overall score of “Proficient” or better as a school was not set against a national standard, but rather is just based on doing better than 70 percent of the other schools in Kentucky. It’s exactly the same sort of problem we had with the now defunct CATS program and even the earlier KIRIS assessments. Performing the final measure of ourselves only against ourselves is short-sighted and very inward-looking – and guaranteed to set the standard too low.
We’ll be working here at the Bluegrass Institute Blog to try and remove some of the Unbridled Learning confusion. That already includes things like our recent blog posts with information that is really important to parents –how the new K-PREP test proficiency rate scores for their child relate to other test products (not yet stringent enough in most subjects).
And, we are developing what is starting to look like a very troubled picture of how the protections for special students and the racial minorities may have been largely destroyed when No Child Left Behind went away, leaving these kids with only the inadequate Unbridled Learning “Gap” calculation to keep pressure on schools to improve.
To be sure, Unbridled Learning is indeed a very complex system. If the editors at one of the state’s leading newspapers are worried about its relevance, this certainly points to problems yet to be resolved.
“The only solution is to focus on reducing government spending, but politicians are loathe to do that. They’re reelected because they confiscated some private wealth, declared it to be public money, and then redistributed it to some voting constituents or to some financial contributors to their political campaigns.” –Bruce Layne (comment on Pure Politics tax commission story)
By Jim Waters
Patience isn’t only a virtue. It’s also a necessary weapon in successfully opposing policies resurrected from history’s ash heap to threaten our economic and social freedom.
However, patience gets harder to maintain – by the second, actually – when you realize that our nation is borrowing $50,000 each second, $4 billion a day and more than $1 trillion annually. Our nation’s debt alone will cost America a million jobs this year.
Patience becomes an outright obstacle once you realize, as the latest Lane Report notes: “Forty cents of every dollar spent by the U.S. government is borrowed. The U.S. debt now exceeds $16 trillion or $51,000 for every man, woman and child in America.”
And that’s on top of the $23,500 burden of state debt borne by each Kentucky taxpayer.
When you understand the severity of it all, you want something done…now.
Understand: patience is not fence-riding or inactivity when opportunity knocks. Rather, my dictionary says it’s “quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence.”
Like the proverbial horse-and-carriage and hand-in-glove, patience must be fitted with perseverance.
Ask groups that have lobbied since President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration eight decades ago to realize their dystopian dream of health care by government fiat. They believe their patience and perseverance was well worth it.
Surely, if these ghoulish thinkers can persist that long for an Obamacare-sized plan, those who believe in free markets, limited governments and individual liberty can stay the course, too.
When England’s William Wilberforce (who was 16 when America’s War for Independence began) was elected to the Parliament at the tender age of 21, he imagined a quick victory in his quest to rid Great Britain of the scourge of slavery.
He expected to deal with reasonable people who just needed the opportunity to eliminate such an inhumane practice. It would not take long for such youthful naïveté give way to a much deeper call.
After being exposed as a young adult to the horrific treatment of his fellow man at the hands of his own people, Wilberforce’s agenda of “partying” in college was replaced with a moral pursuit that became his lifelong mission.
It would not be an easy journey. When Wilberforce arrived at Parliament, he quickly found himself at odds more with “big business” of his time than he did even with “big government.”
While his friends in Parliament pitied him, big-business interests would eventually actively oppose him.
Too many had been made wealthy by a slave trade which, during this season of human history, had taken 11 million African people from their native lands and sold them like cattle to work in British colonies. These interests were not about to let one young Parliament punk stop them.
Although stop them he did – 46 years later – by baptizing his cause in patience and perseverance.
When first arriving at Parliament, Wilberforce was largely ignored – even by many would-be supporters. It did not deter him. Instead, he patiently worked through the years to educate and build a coalition of like-minded souls. Bill after bill, debate after debate, despair after despair, year after year finally gave way to victory.
Three days before he left this world, Wilberforce heard the news: slavery had forever been abolished from his beloved Britain.
He had persisted…and won.
But don’t mistake Wilberforce’s patience with some kind of milquetoast passivism.
“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large,” he said.
Whatever the 2012 election yields, it will not stop patient, persistent – but incurable – devotees dedicated to freeing our commonwealth from its burdensome dependence upon government so that its people can once again prosper.
The following is a statement from Bluegrass Institute interim president Jim Waters about Tuesday’s election:
Last night’s election returns were disappointing in many ways for Kentuckians who believe in the principles of freedom, limited government and self-reliance that made ours the greatest, freest and most prosperous nation in history.
Those principles are greatly threatened by policies that have put 23 million Americans out of work, created a $16 trillion national debt and that have made Kentucky a “sinkhole state” – one of the five worst states in America when it comes to state debt and taxpayer burden. Currently, the state’s debt is costing each Kentucky taxpayer $23,500.
Considering that many of the same policymakers – from the White House to the statehouse – who led us into this economic abyss remain in office this morning, it’s clear that our greatest challenges will not be solved by self-serving and constitutionally illiterate politicians.
For too long, we have placed the power rightfully meant for us as individual citizens into the hands of those who mistakenly believe that government is the granter – rather than simply the guardian – of liberties bestowed upon us by our Creator, as our Founders asserted.
As Louisville native and former Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis said: “The most important political office is that of the private citizen.”
Since its humble beginning more than nine years ago, the Bluegrass Institute’s mission has been to empower individuals – not partisans, politicians or presidents. Now is the time for individual sovereign citizens to take up that power and take back their country and commonwealth.
The morning after this election, we are determined more than ever to fulfill that mission. Will you stand with the Bluegrass Institute as we fight to advance freedom, defend liberty and promote those sound policies that will build a more prosperous Kentucky for future generations?
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