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The Heritage Foundation is reporting on a study determining the most corrupt states in America. The study sized up the effect between 1976 and 2008 of public corruption—measured by convictions—on state spending.
It found Mississippi was at the top of the list, but guess which state was No. 9?
According to the study, the 10 most-corrupt states could have reduced per capita spending by an average of $1,308 if they had average corruption levels. The study found states in the top 10 tend to focus spending on “bribe-generating” spending and items directly beneficial to public officials such as capital projects, construction, highways, borrowing and total salaries and wages.
A climate of corruption or even a perception of one can lead to serious economic effects. The study cited several sources on how economic activity is depressed in nations riddled with corruption. States are no different, and it creates a vicious cycle.
With economic activity depressed because of corruption, states such as Mississippi are forced to use more subsidies and tax breaks. This encourages companies to engage in more rent-seeking behavior — spending wealth on political lobbying to increase one’s share of wealth without creating wealth. This helps build an even more entrenched climate of corruption with companies constantly seeking to maintain or even add to special privileges not afforded their competitors.
Bluegrass Institute welcomes new Vice President of Policy Initiatives
Denis Frankenberger will lead right-to-work campaign
(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — Louisville entrepreneur and government watchdog Denis Frankenberger has been named the Bluegrass Institute’s Vice President of Policy Initiatives.
Frankenberger is the former president and CEO of Advance Machinery Co. – one of the nation’s largest machine tool dealers and integrators of computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools, which was acquired by G.E. Capital.
“I admire and agree with what the Bluegrass Institute stands for and accomplishes,” Frankenberger said. “I look forward to joining the organization’s talented and dedicated team to advance free-market policies that will help turn Kentucky from being a government-dependent state to a mecca of economic growth and true prosperity.”
Bluegrass Institute President Jim Waters praised Frankenberger for his commitment to the principles of liberty and for his tenacity as a private citizen in holding local governments accountable for how taxpayer dollars get spent.
“We are very fortunate to have someone with Denis’s exceptional entrepreneurial success and extensive experience in growing companies and creating jobs in the private sector,” Waters said. “Kentucky taxpayers, businesses and entrepreneurs will benefit greatly from his efforts.”
Frankenberger will lead the institute’s efforts to bring a right-to-work policy to Kentucky.
“While the institute is currently engaged in a number of issues, I believe one of the most important for the commonwealth’s economy is to get the legislature to implement a right-to-work policy,” he said. “Having come from the manufacturing industry, I know how vital this is to major firms that so obviously bypass our state for the very reason that we do not provide right-to-work protections for Kentucky workers.”
For more information, contact Jim Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 270-320-4376.
The Bluegrass Institute’s “Free to Learn” debate series kicked off with the opening forum on Dec. 3 at Southern Baptist Seminary’s Heeren Hall.
Craig Meredith, Ph.D., a former Ohio superintendent, and University of Kentucky education professor Wayne Lewis, Ph.D., who also serves on the Kentucky Charter Schools Association board, had a civil, but serious, exchange of views on the value, need and impact of public charter schools.
The event, which is a must-see for anyone wanting to better understand the differing views on public charter schools, was live-streamed and now is available for viewing here on YouTube.
Linda Duncan, a longtime member of the Jefferson County school board, who initially committed to debate Lewis, rudely backed out at the last minute – right on the cusp of a holiday weekend.
Ducan said she was getting internal pressure – no doubt from the central office of JCPS – a school district where, on average, a 20-point gap in math proficiency rates exists between white and black students at every school level – elementary, middle and high schools.
That district’s rulers didn’t want their subjects appearing on a stage anywhere in the River City with anyone of Lewis’ credibility and stature.
We will soon have details on the second debate in this series.
Bluegrass Institute President Jim Waters was asked to provide the Opposing View for Thursday’s lead editorial in USA Today.
He makes the case against raising cigarette taxes to reduce smoking rates.
“Education, making smoking less culturally acceptable and appealing to citizens’ personal responsibility have been effective in reducing smoking, particularly among the young,” he writes. “Smoking rates among Kentucky’s teens dropped dramatically during the decade even before Kentucky last raised cigarette taxes in 2009.”
Celebrate #GivingTuesday with a charitable gift to your favorite cause –
advancing liberty and prosperity in Kentucky!
Freedom is the best legacy.
And thank you for your support all year round!
Click the image below to make an online donation to the Bluegrass Institute
and let your friends know on social media with the hashtag #GivingTuesday and referencing @BIPPS
Kentucky is one of only eight states that does not allow charter schools. Why?
Learn about school choice!
Case being referred to FBI
New superintendent asked for audit
In the latest of an on-going stream of highly revealing audits of improper activities in local school systems around Kentucky, Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts Adam H. Edelen just released a new shocker on highly questionable payments to the recently retired superintendent in the Dayton Independent School District.
According to the Kentucky Enquirer’s coverage, which names Gary Rye as the former superintendent, the auditor says the former superintendent got nearly a quarter of a million dollars in unauthorized benefits.
Providing evidence of the seriousness of the findings, the Enquirer says:
“The findings have been turned over by Edelen to the FBI, Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System and the Kentucky Department of Revenue.”
Go to the Enquirer’s article to see a really dramatic clip from the auditor’s press conference.
I don’t understand what part of “it isn’t working in other states” the governor does not understand, but it’s reported that Kentucky’s governor, Steve Beshear, is again going to propose legislation to raise the minimum high school dropout age in the state to 18.
I researched the performance of Age 18 legislation in 14 states and Washington, DC that have had such a rule for a significant number of years.
This graph shows what I found.
In general, in most of these states with significant Age 18 experience, the trend in high school graduation rates has been worse than the overall national average trend.
I repeated this research again when the 2009 graduation rate data came out, and nothing really changed for these 15 education jurisdictions.
In other words, just raising the minimum age to drop out to 18 does not improve graduation rates. It just means kids drop out at an older age.
But, if we keep them in school longer, we will have to find classroom space for these kids, and there are a ton of them, a lot more than the state has ever wanted to officially admit. So, enacting Age 18 legislation could require new school construction at a time when the state budget is in crisis and many aging school buildings are on hold for repair or replacement.
We will also need more teachers, as well. They don’t come cheap, either.
The governor should know all of that, of course.
Now, if we really want to solve the dropout problem, we must find ways to reignite interest in kids who have become disheartened and turned off by our existing schools. Forcing them to stay inside the school walls is no way to do that.
Creating innovative charter schools could help, as it has done in places like Chicago, Boston and New York City.
Getting really creative with digital learning programs can help, too.
But, turning schools into Age 18 stalags is unlikely to do anything more than create problems like more super frustrated and angry teens. And, after what recently happened in Connecticut, creating frustrated and angry teens is the last thing Kentucky needs.