“We as a commonwealth cannot continue paying off the Visa with the Master Card.” –State Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro
The Bluegrass Institute’s 2012 Liberty Awards ceremony was a rousing success last night at the Frazier History Museum in Louisville.
Among the dignitaries at the stately affair were state congressmen from both sides of the aisle including Joe Bowen, Mike Harmon, Brad Montell, and keynote speaker Brett Guthrie. Also enjoying the festivities were Bluegrass Institute board members Warren Rogers and Dawn Cloyd, the Institute’s founder Chris Derry, and Chair Kathy Gornik.
Jim Waters, President of the Bluegrass Institute, hosted the inaugural event and recognized four Liberty Award winners for their inspiring devotion to the Institute’s core principles.
Taking home this year’s Transparency Award were the tandem of State Auditor Adam Edelen (D) and Agricultural Commissioner James Comer (R) for their truly bipartisan efforts to keep all dealings in the Agricultural Commissioner’s office in the public eye.
The Free Market Capitalism Award went to Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, for his efforts to keep pseudoephedrine available to honest citizens.
Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, took home the Limited Government Award for teaming with AT&T to limit the reach of government in the telecommunications industry.
Finally, the Individual Liberty Award went to the retiring Sen. Jack Westwood, R-Erlanger, for his career of pushing charter schools and school choice in the commonwealth.
Congratulations to all the nominees and award winners, and to all in attendance for making the inaugural Bluegrass Institute Liberty Awards such a great event.
This week our very own Jim Waters, President of the Bluegrass Institute, hosted “The Afternoon Show” on Lexington’s WLAP. During the broadcast, Waters had the opportunity to interview Dick Carpenter, co-author of the Institute for Justice’s recently released report entitled “License to Work” – a study that compares occupational licensing burdens across the states.
Kentucky’s occupational licensing regulations are 15th most burdensome in the nation.
During the interview, Carpenter shed light on the ways these sorts of regulations harm mid to lower-income professionals and how his organization “represents the interests and individuals who are interested in working in the occupation of their choice but find that they are shut out by onerous and needless government regulations.”
He also shared the eye-opening story of Mississippi licensing regulations for hair-braiders. Yes, even hair-braiders must seek government licenses in some states, and in Mississippi these regulations were suppressing the supply of those services.
But as Carpenter explained, “Once they got rid of that law, almost immediately, 300 people registered as hair-braiders in Mississippi. What they did was they got rid of the cosmetology laws and they just had a simple registration … once they did that, 300 people entered the formal economy and started working as hair-braiders in Mississippi.”
What a testament to the way government over-regulating can affect mid to lower-income workers.
So just how do state governments decide which occupations to burden and which to favor? Dick Carpenter had an answer:
“It’s what Milton Friedman called the power of the concentrated interests. These groups of individuals go in. They lobby the legislature, and they are able to influence the legislature … when the diffused interests – that’s the rest of us who aren’t represented – we don’t have a voice. And so the only substantive voice being heard is those of the associations or groups that have banded together to go in and try to lobby for their particular license.”
A study recently released from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) entitled “Economy Derailed” shows that Kentucky would be the ninth worst hit state in the nation if the Environmental Protection Agency’s sweeping new regulations are not defeated.
The EPA’s newest unilateral mandates aim to cripple Kentucky coal by undermining state sovereignty of our energy sector.
According to author Todd Wynn, Kentucky’s coal miners stand to lose nearly $2 billion in revenue and 6,245 jobs. All told, the Bluegrass State is on the hook for a total of 12,521 jobs that could be lost directly and indirectly because of those unelected bureaucrats at the EPA.
That’s ninth most in the nation.
We knew the EPA’s draconian edicts would be bad, but this new report puts concrete numbers on the sad scenario.
However, on June 5th and 7th, in Frankfort and Pikeville respectively, representatives from the EPA will be coming to town to finally hear the complaints from local citizens concerned about the potential loss of thousands of jobs and cheap energy rates because of these out of touch bureaucrats.
Let’s tell the EPA just how we feel about these startling new statistics this June.
According to the Legislative Research Commission, the state’s current debt from borrowing is $9.6 billion – an impressive amount, but no so much compared to the retirement systems’ debt, which is 34.5 billion. As a percent of our state’s personal income, this combined debt of $44.1 billion is near the highest – if not the highest – among the 50 states.
Don’t miss the release of this report on June 11, 2012. This is information that all Kentuckians need to know!
Scheduled to join the broadcast is Dick Carpenter, co-author of the recently released study from the Institute for Justice called “License to Work.” This study pinpoints the randomness in Kentucky’s occupational licensing regulations and the onerous burdens placed on young people looking to break into these profession. Kentucky ranks in at 15th in the nation for the most burdensome licensing laws.
Call in to join the conversation at (859) 280-2287
Click here to listen live.
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