How much can one vote cost? One way to find out is to examine how a single vote by politicians to change their pension formulas in 2005 is costing taxpayers big-time in 2012.
On the Senate floor this morning, Sen. Mitch McConnell addressed his fellow legislators to explain the costliness that sweeping new Environmental Protection Agency regulations – like the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) mandate – will have on the Bluegrass State:
“This regulation would expand the already massive powers given to the EPA by increasing red tape and costing the taxpayer over $10 billion dollars each year. In Kentucky alone, it threatens the jobs of over 1,400 people working in aluminum smelter plants as well as approximately 18,000 coal miners, not to mention those engaged in industries that support these jobs.”
Unilateral mandates like Utility MACT will make it unfathomable for new coal-fired power plants to be established in Kentucky. As coal provides Kentuckians with 93% of our electricity, energy rates are set to skyrocket, driving businesses away from the commonwealth.
McConnell mentioned the aluminium industry – which produces more aluminium in Kentucky than any other state in the U.S. – but also at stake is Kentucky’s portion of the steel industry. The largest stainless steel production factory in the nation is located right here at home in Carroll County, KY. Steel and aluminum are the local factors of production that draw so many automotive companies to the commonwealth.
So we see, the EPA is not only costing coal miners and their families – it is also going to cost businesses as varied as steel, aluminum, and automotive, a nasty chain effect striking right through our already fragile economy.
Add WLKY in Louisville to the list of television stations that picked up the story about the white versus black achievement gaps in Louisville that we discuss in our new paper, “Blacks Falling Through Gaps.”
A dominant issue during this year’s legislative session was whether legislation was needed requiring a prescription in order to purchase products containing pseudoephedrine, and whether such a law would stop criminals from using it to make the drug methamphetamine.
The Bluegrass Institute opposed this draconian proposal.
Forcing people with the cold or flu to go to a doctor’s office and wait for authorization to get medicine in hopes of stopping meth production is government overkill.
A majority of legislators agreed and instead chose to limit the amount of pseudoephedrine individuals can purchase in a single month or year without a doctor’s prescription.
Nearly two months later the debate has resurfaced.
A Lexington Herald-Leader editorial bashes $486,053 spent by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association to stop SB3 while attempting to portray the CHPA as sinister lobbyists.
Still, it cannot change the facts. In his balanced, factual response to the H-L editorial, CHPA president Scott Melville points out the common sense reasons his organization opposed the law:
* Kentuckians — 6,700 by mail, 12,000 on Facebook — oppose requiring prescriptions for cold and flu medicine
* Only 2 percent of pseudoephedrine sold in Kentucky is used for meth according to the Legislative Research Commission — a far cry from “a huge portion.”
* Kentucky already has effective laws barring previous meth offenders from pseudoephedrine, and a system to track pseudoephedrine purchases.
The facts reveal that forcing law-abiding Kentuckians to obtain a prescription just to purchase a box of Sudafed would have been unnecessarily strict and abusive to our freedoms.
Yesterday I filmed at the press conference for our new report (by Richard G. Innes) Blacks Falling Through Gaps. Here’s a highlight video of some of the key moments. Be sure to post on your Facebook page (copy this link https://vimeo.com/44294354)
Pay attention near the end of this 3-minute newscast item to comments from the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS).
JCPS claims they already knew about the data.
Clearly, major news teams in Louisville did not know. Who was keeping the secret?
Furthermore, if JCPS knew, what actions have they taken in schools like Noe Middle School – where the white minus black reading proficiency gap exceeds 43 percentage points? What specific action has JCPS taken at the Dunn Elementary School – where the math gap is 55.66 percentage points?
Sadly, JCPS only provides an uninspiring, generalist response that sounds just like same old thing we’ve been hearing for the past 22 years whenever someone points to evidence that KERA isn’t working well.
By the way, our report does outline tremendous achievement gaps in Louisville schools today but didn’t discuss gap trends over time. Read this short paper for yourself here.