The three bills of the so-called Pension reform; Tax reform and Budget bill are not only poor business practice, but proof that the current legislators have no desire to grow our communities, economy and our state.
Let us take a look at all three separately here:
SB151-The “sewer” pension bill: The first thing about this bill you need to know is that Rep Jerry Miller has clearly over-stepped the statute on bringing a bill out of committee for a vote without a 24-hour period of review. Mr Miller has shown he has no courage to stand up to his leadership when they called for this to be put to a vote, even though he again very clearly knew he was acting improperly regarding procedure; but he may have just disregarded the law when he subsequently said he was going to ignore the rule of 24-hour review and put it on the floor for a vote. We all know how poor this bill is for the future economic growth of our state; but this other issue is such that they could have acted illegally in passing it.
HB200-Budget Bill: The Governor, although differing on his reasons, vetoed this bill. The cuts to key education and state services would have meant that any investments in growing our economy would have been undone even before they had time to develop. (I am posting below some of the things this budget bill would have negatively impacted.)
HB366-Tax reform: While there were many revenue generating parts of this bill I like and even promote, (taxing services and cigarettes that heretofore have been exempted), this was nothing more than a high-wage earner tax break paid for with increased consumption revenues that we need to invest in our roads and infrastructure. Again, I appreciate the Governor vetoing the bill, but he did not do so because he objected to the increase of consumption-based revenues. Instead the governor vetoed it because he thinks we have a cost problem? The Governor is woefully out-of-touch. We need new revenues, yes, not to provide tax cuts for those in high wage brackets; but to fix our roads, bridges and other lacking infrastructure. We cannot grow our communities or economy without those.
Once again we see how the lack of business acumen where you invest to grow is lacking in any practical or articulated sense by current legislators.
We must have “change of leadership” in Frankfort. We can grow our communities by increasing our revenue streams through consumption-based revenues (expanded gaming and medical marijuana), as well as tax reforms.
Removes the following Learning and Results Services programs each year:
Textbooks/Learning materials ($16.7M), Professional Development ($11.9M), Appalachian Learning Disabled Tutoring ($72k), Commonwealth School Improvement Program ($1.4M), Georgia Chaffee Teenage Parent Program ($228k), Leadership and Mentor Fund ($329k), Middle School Academic Center ($340k), Teacher’s Professional Growth Fund ($720k), Teacher Academies Program ($1.4M), Virtual Learning Program ($700k) and the Writing Program ($534k);
Reduces funding for the following Learning and Results Services programs each year:
Elementary Arts and Humanities Program ($26k), Extended School Services Program ($1.6M), Gifted and Talented ($414k), Local School District Life Insurance ($93k), Mathematics Achievement Fund ($334.6k), Preschool Programs ($5.6M), Read to Achieve ($1.06M), State Agency Children Program ($631k); and
Reduces SEEK appropriation from what passed in House version by $34.4M in 2019 and $45.5M in 2020. (From $4,055 and $4,056 respectively to $4,000 each year).
Reduces funding for all post-secondary institutions by 6.25%;
Provides for $31M per year in performance based funding;
Reduces funding by $100k in each year for Ovarian Cancer Screening Outreach Program at UK;
Eliminates funding for the University Press at UK ($672.5k);
Eliminates funding for the Robinson Scholars Program at UK in 2020 ($1.0M);
Eliminates funding for Pediatric Cancer Research at UK ($1.5M each year);
Eliminates funding for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UK by $1.0M per year; and
Reduces the funding for the Mining Engineering Scholarship at UK by $250k per year.
Health and Family Services
Removes $50,000 in each fiscal year to support the operation of the Special Olympics Kentucky.
Justice and Public Safety Cabinet
Removes $3.0M and $3.5M from the Office of Drug Control Policy which would support opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery initiatives.
Retired Teacher’s Health Insurance
Removes the dependent subsidy benefit for retired teachers under the age of 65;
(Note: This benefit was restored in SB 197 HFA 1 which is awaiting Senate action.)