Top Beshear Administration Eff Ups of 2008

We thought it’d be a good idea to do a refresher on some of the major Beshear eff ups from 2008. These are by no means the most important and are in no particular order. In some cases, we selected random stories out of dozens that are related.

  • Chuck Wolfe lying his ass off to Stephen George over 8664 [Link]
  • Failing to get casino gambling legislation passed, summarily killing any chance of ever working with the House Dems again [Link 1 & Link 2]
  • Ignorantly firing Eric Landis, who was active-duty military at the time, because he was a Fletcher appointee [Link]
  • Failing to pass a cancer stick tax [Link]
  • Consistently failing to do anything positive for education [Link]
  • Keeping Jennifer Moore at the helm of the Kentucky Democratic Party. Could be argued (easily) that this decision cost Kentucky dearly on several fronts [Way too many stories]
  • Screwing with the U.S. Senate race and lying about it [Link]
  • Hiring Jim “King Maker” Cauley to be the governor’s chief of staff [Link]
  • Hiring Phil Osborne, finding out that it is unethical, then hiring everyone from his firm as a consolation prize [Link 1 & Link  2]
  • Failing to communicate with the media, at all, and burning bridges, bringing in a new Chief of Staff nearly a year later [Link]
  • Allowing the Governor to meet casino baron Bill Yung and then lying about it [Link]

Governer Beshear Could Be Making a Mistake

Really, using excess coal severance tax funds to help balance the state’s budget?

LOUISVILLE – Gov. Steve Beshear defended his plan Friday to divert about $17.5 million headed for coal counties to help address a $456 million state budget shortfall.

But the Democratic governor added that he was “open” to discussing the move with state legislators.

House Speaker Jody Richards and several state lawmakers and officials from coal-producing counties oppose using excess proceeds from the coal severance tax to balance the state budget.

Richards, D-Bowling Green, said it would be unfair to impact particular geographical regions of the state. Coal counties, particularly rural areas in Eastern and Western Kentucky, have come to rely on coal severance tax receipts as a major source of their revenue.

Let’s just talk about this for a second.

Has the Governor ever stepped foot in some of these counties in eastern and western Kentucky? Does he realize there’s a reason that Appalachia, in particular, is the most impoverished region in the United States?

We thought the idea of Beshear’s public tour was to make him seem more “in touch” with reality. And. Um.

What the heck are these people thinking?

TGIF! Budgets Are The Poverty Devil

Wonder if the 2% the University of Louisville is expected to cut from its budget adds up to more than Robert Felner stole? You’ll love Jim Ramsey’s statement. [Mark Hebert]

Looks like it’s official. Mitch McConnell only exists to stand against everything. Not for anything. [Detroit Free Press]

And he’s certainly offending auto dealers across the Bluegrass. [H-L]

Gas prices rose even more yesterday. You knew $1.44 was too good to be true. [C-J]

Have you taken a look at the load of pre-filed bills for the 2009 session of the General Assembly? [LRC]

Looks like other folks think Tom Jurich and Rod Blagojevich were separated at birth. [Francene]

Trey Grayson on Beshear’s Budget Announcement

Secretary of State Trey Grayson just released a statement on Steve Beshear’s budget plan:

“I am not sure that there are any other ways to articulate that we are going to experience severe pain due to these proposed cuts. This pain should send a clear message to the Governor and Legislature that we must find a bi-partisan, long-term solution to this problem, not just a quick fix. Comprehensive tax reform that will reduce the tax burden on productivity, and thus allow our economy to grow, is the only real answer to this crisis. Until we face this fact, our Commonwealth will continue to bear these difficult decisions.”

We’re not sure “tax reform” and the “free market” are the answer to our problems right now. But one thing is certain: a bi-partisan, long-term solution to our problems is necessary. Now.

Beshear’s Plan: 70-Cent Cigarette Tax Increase

The governor’s just-released plan includes a 70-cent tax increase on cigarettes and doubles the rate of tax on other tobacco products. His plan would also protect Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK), the $3 billion in basic funding for elementary and secondary education, protect student financial aid and “limit” cuts to the rest of education at 2 percent.

The cancer stick tax increase would allegedly generate $81.5 million in a budget year. We’re surprised he actually decided to pick a side on the issue, rather than waffle like he’s done the past few weeks.

Additionally, the governor’s plan will limit state police cuts to 2 percent and preserve a new class of 60 troopers, furlough state employees to 3 days and use $40 million in one-time resources.

According to a document just obtained from the governor’s office, here are the basics of Beshear’s plan:

  • $147.1 million in spending cuts in addition to $432 million in reductions made in the last year. Under Gov. Beshear, the executive branch is the smallest it has been in 20 years, with 2,000 fewer employees than last year and nearly 600 fewer non-merit employees than under the previous administration.
  • $81.5 million this budget year by increasing the cigarette tax 70 cents, as well as increasing the tax on other tobacco products.
  • $8 million by furloughing state workers three days.
  • $40.6 million in other funds, such as transfers from restricted funds.
  • $178.9 million from the Budget Reserve Trust Fund or Rainy Day Fund, during this fiscal year. Currently, the legislature has appropriated $191 million of the $226 million fund for the 2010 fiscal year. Under Gov. Beshear’s proposal, increased cigarette tax revenues in the 2010 fiscal year – about $144 million – would be used to replenish the revenues expended from the Rainy Day Fund.

See the impact of budget cuts after the jump…

Read moreBeshear’s Plan: 70-Cent Cigarette Tax Increase

Ruh Ro – Louisville GOP Hits Mayor

Brad Cummings, chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, just released an advisory addressing Jerry Abramson’s economic press conference today:

In what is becoming an annual event in Metro Louisville, Jerry Abramson has recently announced a major budget shortfall and just as regularly, he has let no one in on the process of how we got there or how we will get out of this turmoil.

“We should all be in this together, Democrat and Republican” said Jefferson County Republican Chairman Brad Cummings. “The last time I checked, the City of Louisville was setup as a democracy, not a monarchy. Unfortunately, this one-man band approach makes our Mayor look more like Napoleon than Lincoln.”

During a press conference that the Metro Council only received notice on one and a half hours before, Mayor Abramson laid out a plan to make significant budget cuts with little evidence of collaboration. While some cuts are understandable like adding furlough days or cutting the Mayor’s salary, putting public safety in second place or cutting projects that receive State and Federal matching funds seem to be unwise areas to trim.

Read the rest after the jump…

Read moreRuh Ro – Louisville GOP Hits Mayor