Issues in our state government

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To the editor:

In last week’s paper, we heard from our State Rep. about the items I am assuming he thought was the most important to talk about: The bill to let the Universities use their own money for projects or to update their facilities, the bill to increase accountability of the special taxing districts, the State’s Public Pension system, and then what the Governor would like to do. These are important issues, especially the accountability of the Special Taxing Districts, whose boards control most of the taxes we pay, over 1.5 billion a year in KY. Remember this when they talk about the dreaded “Compensating Rate” that will be voted on by each taxing board in a few short months, let’s see how many stay with the current percentage of our paycheck.
The other is the State’s Pension system, under funded by over 35 billion. Last week, our Representative said “this issue cannot wait another year to be acted upon.” I am so glad to see that he has changed his tune on trying to address this, as in the last election, he said that this would not run out of money for 30 years. What about other issues like the proposed taxes from the 16 member task force that they are saying we need to get our terrible budget and debt under control? Some of the proposals are to tax pensions, increased utility taxes, cigarette tax increase of over 40 cents above what it is now, expanding sales taxes, and putting a cap on our individual itemized deductions.
There is also one big item hanging out there, “redistricting,” which our KY Constitution called to be done last year but our Rep and other Legislators spent most of that 60 day session, passing a redistricting bill that was declared unconstitutional by our KY Supreme Court. That court fight now comes with a bill of $186,000. Who will have to pay that bill? Plus, we the taxpayers paid over $60,000 per day for a special session last year. Let’s see if they have one this year.
Now, I am not so naive in that knowing that just reporting on stuff that sounds good is just good politics but lets tell the whole story so everyone knows what is really going on.
Another big item is the bill to allow our KY Farmers to grow industrialized Hemp. We had our entire Washington representative group here in Frankfort last week, plus our Agriculture Commissioner, imploring our legislature to pass this and discussing how many opportunities this would open up on both local and state levels. Sen. Rand Paul even showed up wearing a Hemp shirt! We didn’t hear a peep about this from our Rep., the Ag Committee chair, the word is that he will not let it get out of committee.
Of all of this, the one item that needs to be addressed but is not seen in our district, is JOBS! Creating a thriving, growing business environment is the key to the growth and betterment of our local community. Without this growth, all of the needed changes cannot be done and the existing costs will be borne by the diminishing roles of the taxpayers in Harrison County and Cynthiana. This one item is the key that our leaders should be focused on at all times, at each meeting, and down to each discussion. Our children deserve no less.
I do want to thank some of those that put much more effort trying to work on future plans than they are paid for: Billy Grayson’s ideas and caring for our community, Pat Grenier’s continuing work to improve the business environment here, Missy Lutz’s tireless work to bring accountability and structure to local government entities, Jeff Brunker’s honesty in government, and Jack Keith’s years of work and leadership. I hope they forgive me for mentioning them and I wish I had room to list all of the names of those that should be recognized but we all know who they are.
In conclusion, I hope this letter starts more discussion and if some of that is negative and directed at me or others out there trying to shed light on things, then so be it. At least, we are talking and the conversation is not behind closed doors or in the “good ole boy” network.
Bryan Lutz