Bluegrass Beacon: House GOP shows solidarity, challenges the status quo

Editor’s note: This column originally was released to newspapers before the state Senate had passed its budget. It’s been updated to reflect passage of the Senate’s budget. How unfair it was for former Gov. Steve Beshear to claim he was leaving the commonwealth’s bank account in much-better shape than he was handed when, in reality,…

Pension transparency: ‘Just’ because taxpayers have the right to know

The year before President Harry Truman made famous the saying: “If you can’t convince ‘em, confuse ‘em,” local Chamber of Commerce representative Richard H. Leask wrote a letter to a Bakersfield, California newspaper in which he added a perceptive twist to that maxim. “There is an old politician’s motto which goes to this effect: ‘If…

Bluegrass Beacon: Clear case for pension transparency takes bizarre turn

Unusual antics occurring on the campaign trail these days include a bizarre race to choose the next president of the Kentucky Education Association (KEA), the state’s teachers’ union. When’s the last time you heard a KEA candidate ask: “Why does KEA oppose transparency?” Randolph Wieck, a history teacher at Louisville’s DuPont Manual High School, did…

Bluegrass Beacon: Pension gain, budget pain

Charles Eliot, the longest-serving president in Harvard University’s illustrious history, once said “the capacity to inflict pain” is a university leader’s most important quality. Could it also be a chief executive’s greatest asset – especially if he’s elected to lead a commonwealth that’s “already become essentially insolvent?” That’s how Gov. Matt Bevin described Kentucky’s fiscal…

Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting: Pension investment expenses sky-high

Well, now here’s a real shocker about Kentucky’s pension-investment expenses: “Kentucky’s pension plan for public employees says that its annual investment expenses are running 75 percent higher than reported in previous years,” reports the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. Included in the report is analysis by former KRS trustee Chris Tobe, who, as reporter James…

Bluegrass Beacon: Politically inconvenient facts about Ky’s economic comeback

Gov. Steve Beshear’s recent victory lap touted an $82.5 million deposit of what he calls “surplus” funds into Kentucky’s “rainy day fund.” Beshear claims it’s a “sign of a healthy economy” and attacks his critics who “keep running their mouths about how bad things are,” reports WHAS-TV’s Joe Arnold. However, I’m concerned that Kentuckians who…

Lt. Gov. hopeful files pension-reform bills

McDaniel pre-files transparency bill that shines the light on legislators’ Cadillac pension benefits  Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, has pre-filed three pension-reform bills for consideration during the 2015 session of the Kentucky General Assembly, including BR85, which would shine the light of transparency on state politicians’ Cadillac taxpayer-funded benefits. BR85 makes all current or former legislators’ benefits…