4 Reasons to care about Kentucky Governor’s racePosted by Aaron Gillum on September 6, 2015
The Cincinnati Enquirer is running a story this weekend by the same title, however, it is misleading and shows how disconnected they continue to be with Northern Kentucky.
Their reasons: “Northern Kentucky needs to improve turnout”, “who will gain momentum for the 2016 Senate race”, “the White House effect”, and “tepid Republican support”.
I ask, what do any of those have to do with how voters should weigh their choices this November? The answer is a very distinct, “absolutely nothing.”
Instead, please allow me to offer four REAL reasons:
- Pension Crisis
As of January 1, 2015, the Kentucky teacher retirement system faced more than $14 Billion in unfunded liabilities. This is in addition to the $17 Billion in unfunded pensions in the Kentucky Retirement System. No solution came out of the legislative session, and the can was kicked down the road yet again. This massively looming debt grows daily, is not being addressed and is not sustainable. Pensions continue to be offered to state employees as a benefit, so the burden grows through attrition.
All of this burden falls upon the Kentucky taxpayer. Our police, fire, teachers, and civil servants all stand to lose their retirement that they’ve worked for if something is not done.
- Tax Deficit
The current Kentucky tax code is more than 60,000 pages. The state, in 2014, gave out $90M more than it took in, and is on pace to fall more than $35M short in 2015. This, is in addition to the pension deficit. The tax code in current form does not provide competitive opportunity for businesses to locate within the commonwealth. Major players such as Toyota, Humana, and Omnicare have moved out of state for greener pastures. All sides agree that comprehensive tax reform is needed, but the seated governor and legislature have ignored the issue, and again, passed the buck.
- Health Care Reform
The creation of a state exchange, KYNECT, was initiated as part of the Affordable Care Act. The exchange is heralded as one of the better state exchanges in design, and was created with $253.6M in grants, of which only $60M have been accounted for. The state spent more than $11M in 2014 just promoting the exchange, who has 622 employees. The cost to operate KYNECT is stated at $39M per year. States are not required to operate their own exchange, and all services provided by the exchange can be received through the federal ACA online exchange.
Medicaid expansion in the state has increased the annual state cost of funding. The governor’s projections in 2013 were for 147,000 people to join the expanded program, at a cost of $33M. More than 310,000 people joined, just the first year pushing the cost projections to $119M per year. The healthcare marked is turning to increased costs upon the insured, because of the reduced reimbursement rates of Medicaid, driving the expense of healthcare up, to compensate. The cycle is not sustainable, and the state currently has no answers to fund the expansion.
- Labor Law
Right to work legislation is at Kentucky’s doorstep. The concept with Right-To-Work is that by law, no one can be forced to enter into an organized labor contract / agreement. This does not ban unions, but does make participation within them elective. This issue is very divisive, as the organized labor contingent believes it jeopardizes their funding and ability to operate, and those opposed to forced participation believe the increased dollars going to worker pockets instead of union dues are a job creation incentive. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, and Tennessee all have passed right to work legislation, and are all in direct competition for business growth and expansion with Kentucky.
All four of these topics have major implications on the future ability of our state government to function. In Northern Kentucky we have a looming need for an I-75 bridge solution, and our sprawling growth has overburdened many state highways and systems.
Which candidate offers the best skill set, and approach to resolving these major issues facing our state?
Here are your choices:
Do your homework Kentucky, and VOTE!
November 3, 2015.
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