“Most states and cities in deep financial trouble all have one thing in common. They have been governed by liberal administrations, who believe in high tax rates and cozy relationships with public unions.” –Ron House, Zanesville (Ohio) Times-Recorder
According to the May edition of The Lane Report, Frogdice, a young video-game company, has been awarded an $80,000 loan from the state “to help purchase software and other equipment.”
While it’s great that the company, as the report indicated, plans to hire seven new employees by 2014 and pay them an average annual salary of nearly $50,000 each, I have to wonder why taxpayers are being forced to loan them money.
Why don’t they have to take the same route to secure funding that other private-sector companies travel, including convincing private lenders that they have strong enough credit and won’t be leaving town anytime soon?
Perhaps they tried that route and still couldn’t get a loan — which makes this government “loan” even worse. Why should taxpayers be on the hook for an operation that a private lender does not consider worth the risk?
Ironically, the online version of this month’s The Lane Report has a story at the top of the page about a Louisville bank being “one of the nation’s top financial institutions with assets of $3 billion or more.”
…and we have start-ups getting loans from the worst-run state in the nation?
Maybe this whole experience has given Frogdice an idea for a new video game, that could be marketed something like this: “Let’s all play ‘What happened to all that federal stimulus money given to banks for loans?'”
Based upon the dismal 10-percent turnout for this year’s primary election, it appears the ‘them not me’ syndrome is alive and well in Kentucky. This Memorial Day weekend, let’s commit ourselves not just to gripe about our nation’s shortcomings, but to invest in keeping freedom’s flame alive.
Click here to read the latest Bluegrass Beacon.
The year was 2005. The ‘KERA Amen Chorus’ was hot with accusations that Kentuckians were education cheapskates. That charge was based on a Governing Magazine study that said Kentucky ranked last in the nation for education spending. Governing said their ranking was based on data from the US Census Bureau. It looked damning.
But, the Bluegrass Institute thought the numbers looked wrong. We talked to the real experts at Census and found out that Governing Magazine indeed used the wrong Census data file to do its ranking. We found out the ‘right stuff’ from Census is contained in an annually released document titled “Public Education Finances.”
Governing’s problem: Kentucky uses unusual education funding policies that make it tricky to do apples-to-apples comparisons to education funding elsewhere. Governing used a Census file that was based on an incomplete, school district level picture of spending. That file totally omitted Kentucky’s large expenditures on teacher health care and teacher retirement, which are funded at the state level rather than the district level in the Bluegrass State. The charge we were dead last was based on ‘Ghost-ly Statistics.’
Flash forward to the present. A few days ago, the US Census Bureau released Public Education Finances 2009.
It is interesting to compare the total amounts Table 1 in the Census report says we spent on education in 2008-09 to the amounts that come from the Kentucky Department of Education’s own Revenue and Expenditures Report.
Those big ticket costs are often omitted from discussions about how much the taxpayer spends on education in Kentucky, turning these large dollar amounts into “Ghost-ly Statistics.”
But, Mr. and Ms. Taxpayer, your wallet knows – those big dollars are no ghosts.
Jim Waters, vice president of policy and communications, will talk Kentucky issues at 6:30 pm (EDT) today (Thursday, May 26), on “Kentuckiana GrassRoots Radio.”
Listen in to this blog talk radio program, which is co-hosted by Clint Hardy, Matt Singleton and David Caldwell, by clicking here.
The show’s call-in number is (347) 637-3086. Plan to call in with your questions and comments. It’s informal, interesting and entertaining radio.
The renewal of the Patriot Act has been all the buzz lately. A recent interview with Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) from Wired.com poses an interesting thought that has implications for governments and legislation at all levels, not just the federal government:
“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” Wyden tells Danger Room in an interview in his Senate office. “When you’ve got that kind of a gap, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.”
This “gap” is very important. For instance, when interpreting open records laws, it is very possible that private citizens and government agencies have very different ideas of how that process should work.