Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson announced plans Friday to let go enough non-essential government employees for three days to save $2 million.
Let’s see: 2,000,000 times 365 divided by 3 equals $243,333,333.
House Bill 51 would probably encourage more economic development in Kentucky than any amount of corporate welfare incentive programs Frankfort can dole out.
The bill is available to view and discuss on Kentucky Votes.
House Budget Chairman Harry Moberly should have to explain in committee his position on this bill.
Sen. Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) took the opportunity of a speech to the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Friday to encourage support for some familiar Bluegrass Institute themes.
“My pledge to you and the citizens of Northern Kentucky is that I will strive to be a leader that puts problem solving before politics,” Thayer said.
“That means not raising taxes. That means fixing our education system. And that means protecting taxpayers from the partisan agenda of a governor who just doesn’t seem to get it.”
Thayer criticized big-spending politicians who now seek to raise taxes.
“Government should be forced to do more with less. Not do more with more.
But the drumbeat for higher taxes has already begun. And the band leader is Steve Beshear.”
Beshear has been actively involved in promoting a cigarette tax hike.
Thayer mentioned the absence of Beshear’s promised $180 million a year “efficiency study” and the legislature’s continued support for prevailing wage policies.
“The state of Kentucky could easily save $130 million a year by eliminating the prevailing wage law on public construction projects. This silly idea costs the taxpayers millions at a time when we can ill-afford to cater to any special interest group.”
Thayer listed several education statistics in making the case for reforming school policies that mislead parents and policymakers to believe schools are performing better than they actually are.
“It is high-time we got rid of the CATS testing system, and replaced it with something that actually tells parents, educators, and policymakers what we need to know.”
New York state, facing an $8.8 billion budget gap, at least has their fiscal crunch framed properly:
“There’s the tradeoff: supergenerous benefits for a well-paid public workforce that also enjoys pensions most people can only dream of, versus school programs, public safety and a functioning transit system.”
There is no guarantee that state will make the right call under union pressure, but at least New York isn’t doing a New Jersey:
“Gov. Jon S. Corzine is set to announce today that he will let counties and municipalities temporarily defer 50 percent of the payment due next April into the public employee pension system.”
What a great idea: lending money to governments who have frittered away what they had and expect them to get their act straight and repay the loans in future years.
Kentucky is, of course, ahead of the curve on that one.
Meanwhile, we should be watching with great interest any success New York has in dealing with unions.
Kentucky could save $130 million much-needed dollars by ending our prevailing wage practices on public construction projects.
Decisions made for colonists by a king interfering with their economic livelihood and individual liberties were at the core of the American Revolution.
Taxes were levied on colonists by Parliament in far-away Britain – without representation for the colonists. This led to the cry of “No taxation without representation” that became the main talking point in the list of grievances against King George III.
The founders’ willingness to go to war over this lack of representation tells me they probably would take huge issue with the “regulation without representation” now occurring in some Kentucky communities.
For example, the Hopkins County Board of Health decided to create and enforce a law without so much as a vote by elected officials.
The county’s fiscal court asked the health board to offer recommendations about a smoking ban on restaurants and other privately owned businesses. Instead, the board’s non-elected health nannies enacted their own smoking ban on all public places, including privately owned businesses.
Rather than hold these out-of-control officials accountable, local magistrates and county judge-executive Donald Carroll seemed all too happy to allow the health board to assist them in avoiding a tough vote on a controversial issue.
Fortunately, not all elected officials rolled over.
Hopkins County Attorney Todd P’Pool publicly questioned the ban’s constitutionality. So, if P’Pool decides not to press for enforcement, will the health board dispatch its own goon squad – created by the same state bureaucrats who appointed these health-board members? I wonder how such a move would go down in the fiercely independent communities of rural Kentucky.
So far, opponents of the ban have hit a wall in the courtroom. A judge denied a request for an injunction after attorneys for the health board argued that state statute allows local health boards to enact smoking regulations.
But if the legality were so clear, don’t you think politicians with similar levels of chicken-heartedness in every other Kentucky county would take the same route as Hopkins County magistrates by punting to local health nannies?
Kentucky law allows health boards to adopt regulations to enforce laws created by elected officials. But whatever Hopkins’ health nannies have been smoking has skewed their reasoning into thinking that means non-elected bureaucrats can enact laws threatening the constitutionally protected private-property rights of local business owners.
The Kentucky Freedom Coalition, a group of Hopkins County business owners and concerned residents, has gathered more than 2,000 signatures on a petition challenging the cowardice of local representatives.
In a letter to the Hopkins County Health Department, Kentucky Freedom Coalition spokesman Hal Latham promised his group will “vigorously fight any attempt by the Health Board to enact laws concerning this matter . . . We are passionate about freedom and private property rights.”
I’m glad somebody is.
The developments in Hopkins County should concern even those supportive of government-imposed smoking bans. Allowing elected officials to avoid accountability for key policies represents an erosion of the representative form of government for which so many have fought.
One letter to the editor referred to the politicians’ cowardice in these matters as “a dereliction of duty.”
Of course, many elected officials want to avoid taking a position. They know the consequences of taking a stand on an issue as divisive as a government-imposed smoking ban. Longtime Paducah Mayor Bill Paxton was in a tough re-election fight this fall after supporting a stifling smoking ban passed in his city last year.
Surely, no process that exists is more fundamentally un-American than laws enacted and enforced by non-elected bureaucrats.
Just the thought of it chokes me up more than smoke from a cheap cigar.
We learned a week ago Gov. Steve Beshear is still sorting through the 3600 government efficiency suggestions he got from state employees last December so he can fulfill his promise to do an “efficiency study” he said would save $180 million a year.
As the time passes by — at just under half a million dollars per day of persistent inefficiencies — it looks more and more like citizens are going to have to take matters into their own hands.
He has said that site will be up in January. Perhaps we should check to see how efficiently he is moving toward that goal.
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