“The one thing that we can be sure of is that a continued assault on poker and attempts to restrict the rights of Commonwealth residents to play online poker is a clear waste of state government’s scarce resources.” — John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance
Jim Waters, director of policy and communications, will be speaking at tea parties in Owensboro (this Saturday, April 10), Madisonville and Paducah (both on Thursday, April 15). Please come out and show your support for lower taxes, limited government, state sovereignty and individual liberty.
Owensboro Tea Party: City Hall, 101 E 4th St. from 12 noon-2 p.m. Saturday, April 10
Madisonville Tea Party: At the corner of N Main St and West Arch St across from the Government Center beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 15
Paducah Tea Party– ‘Let’s Rally for America’: At the Dolly McNutt Plaza beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 15
Attorney General Jack Conway calls a letter signed by 35 Kentucky lawmakers asking him to join 14 other Attorneys General in a lawsuit to protect Kentuckians from the unconstitutional federal health care policy ‘a political stunt.’
Click here to listen to the 90-second audio commentary.
This week the LFUCG is considering a proposal to require Kentucky American Water to appear before the council and explain a price increase upwards of 30%. That’s pretty steep. The council is allegedly doing this to protect the local Lexington customers.
Here’s a suggestion, LFUCG: If you are really concerned about the amount of money citizens are spending on utilities, why don’t you cut the taxes you impose on those same utilities. I would rather pay money to a private business to improve the product I am purchasing rather than fork over money to a local government that has nothing to do with that product.
It seems a bit disingenuous to talk about preserving utility costs while at the same time increasing taxes on those same utilities.
We hear a lot from state officials about budget deficits. Their solution usually revolves around either extracting more hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars, taking the commonwealth deeper in debt or some combination of both.
The House budget this year floated the idea of an additional $2 billion in bonded indebtedness to build roads, repair schools and shore up other infrastructure projects. The Senate did not drink that potion, leading to the current budget impasse in Frankfort.
But how about interjecting some new cost-cutting ideas into our budget process? For example, instead of raising taxes or increasing debt, Ireland provides a much better idea: Reducing government salaries by as much as 15 percent.
Read more about it here.
While a few of Kentucky’s visible politicians — top state leaders who happen to be running for higher office — have indicated they will accept a 10 percent pay cut, it would be more than a political stunt if such cuts were made all the way throughout government. It could actually help get government spending back under control.
But it would take the luck of the Irish to implement such a policy throughout the entrenched network of state workers — Kentucky’s largest voting bloc.
I blogged yesterday on the notable increase in total education revenue in Kentucky since KERA was enacted in 1990. Today, let’s apply some of that information to the National Assessment of Educational Progress eighth grade mathematics proficiency rates for Kentucky in 1990 and 2009. The proficiency rate is the percentage of students who scored at or above the NAEP “Proficient” level, as published in the 2009 NAEP Mathematics Report Card.
This graph shows what I found. Back in 1990, the state achieved 5.10 NAEP proficiency points for each $1 billion it collected from all sources, local, state and federal, for education. By 2009, that efficiency rating had slipped to only 4.57 proficiency points per each $1 billion collected.
In other words, over time our schools have become less efficient.
Assuming we don’t lose any more efficiency (a very unlikely assumption), how much would we have to spend in current, 2009 dollars to get up to a mathematics proficiency rate of 90 percent?
To calculate that, divide 90 proficiency points by the 4.57 proficiency points per $1 billion of total revenue to learn we would need to collect $19.69 billion to fund such performance.
In other words, to get a 90 percent proficiency rate in math would cost well over three times the amount we currently spend – IF we stay with our current education model.
Clearly, we have to break our current education trend.
We must find much more efficient ways to educate students in Kentucky’s schools. Our current system cannot get us anywhere close to where we want to go at any sort of cost that we can afford.
Really innovative uses of technology could offer one way to improve efficiency, though so far the existing education establishment hasn’t seemed to be able to really harness technology very effectively.
Another part of the answer could be charter schools. Among other things, these new model public schools tend to be more efficient than regular public schools.
This table has the data used to create the graph above.
Kentucky Department of Education, Office of District Support Services, Division of Financial Data Management, Calculations & Reporting Branch, Receipts and Expenditures Reports for listed years. On line here.
National Center for Education Statistics (2009), The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics 2009, (NCES 2010–451), Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. On line here.