Here is an article guaranteed to upset universal pre-school fans in Kentucky. The authors cite a number of studies and datasets that indicate universal preschool is far more controversial than we have been hearing in Kentucky. At issue is whether very young children from supportive homes really benefit, or might even be disrupted in development, by preschool versus home nurturing. Considering where this article was published, it certainly needs to be part of the discussion.
This year alone, Kentucky has had a gubernatorial task force on public employee benefits that did nothing to repair our $27 billion overspending, a government spending transparency task force that has kept public information hidden for several more months than necessary, and a K-12 assessments task force that is about to conclude that our broken, inflated CATS program is just dandy.
It’s Tuesday. Must be time for another task force.
This morning Gov. Beshear told the dutiful attendees at his press conference that he has been to the mountaintop and heard the pleas of the people to lower tuition at state colleges and universities.
A quick glance at the list of task force members doesn’t necessarily preclude a finding that trying free market principles could cure what ails us in the higher education department, but Gov. Beshear has amassed a pretty uninspiring track record on which to base much hope.
It should go without saying that expanding government’s role in making college more affordable will continue to fail just as it has for the last few decades. Last year’s big idea was price-fixing. Expect to see that again. And they will try to open up Kentucky’s Affordable Pre-paid Tuition program. Grab your checkbooks.
Kentucky persists in creating artificial demand with reduced academic standards and then we throw borrowed taxpayer money at the artificial demand. We will have to stop that before we can hope to see any improvement. Then we need to expand our merit-based scholarship program and shrink our need-based financial aid program, so indifferent students are incentivized to either get serious or get out.
Gov. Steve Beshear’s efforts to replace the out-of-state electronic “leeches” with the in-state regulated and taxed variety continues with a new pre-filed bill to set up Kentucky Lottery video lottery terminals across the state.
We are still assuming, however, that the promised revenue will be greater than the added costs of making it easier for desperate people to “double down.” And given the laundry list (see the bill summary) of selected beneficiaries, it’s hard not to wonder why we aren’t just lowering taxes, cutting government, and growing our way out of our spending-induced problems.
One noteworthy line in the actual bill which certainly wasn’t intended to be funny promised:
“strictly regulating gaming to promote public confidence in the honesty and integrity of those participating in it.”
The Cato Institute put out Monday their annual report card on the nation’s governors. Gov. Steve Beshear didn’t get a grade because he is still new, but — based on what we have seen so far –don’t expect him to do very well next year. The following familiar themes for BIPPS readers are what they are looking for now:
“Fiscal policies need to be improved if the states are to meet the huge challenges ahead. Medicaid costs continue to rise, state debt is soaring, and the pension and health care plans of state workers have huge funding gaps. At the same time, rising international tax competition makes it imperative that states cut tax rates to attract jobs and investment. Governors don’t have an easy job, but they do need to pursue more aggressive fiscal reforms to meet the challenges of an increasingly competitive economy.”
And this is what they found in West Virginia:
“Joe Manchin of West Virginia has concentrated on cutting business taxes to help boost investment in his state. In 2006, Manchin approved reductions in the business franchise and corporate income taxes. In 2007, he cut the franchise tax further. In 2008, Manchin signed into law a repeal of the business franchise tax and a reduction in the corporate income tax rate. Manchin also has an excellent spending record, and recommends cuts to the overall general fund budget most years.”
I never provided our readers any details on the fifth meeting of the task force. This oversight gives me a great opportunity to introduce some of you to the new Kentucky policy WiKi where that description can be found.
With this new WiKi, citizens around the state can add information about what is happening in their local areas for the benefit of all. With the decline in major press reporting on many critical issues such as education, the Bluegrass Institute believes this new site will make a valuable contribution to the citizens’ rights to know and participate in our governmental systems.