Jim Waters: ‘Tourocrats’ tax logic

This is the second installment of Jim Waters’ Bluegrass Beacon, a now-regular feature of Page One. We won’t take much issue with Jim’s column this week except to say: We’re not sure how $0.01 per U.S. Dollar taxes on tourism is such a terrible thing. It’s not really taxing Kentuckians and it drives a could-be thriving industry throughout the state. That is, if Fletcher’s tourism big dogs could follow the law and spend funds appropriately.


‘Tourocrats’ tax logic, shaft taxpayers when mining for money

By Jim Waters

Tax increases usually don’t pass the logic test.

Take Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s so-called “Tax Modernization” policy. Lawmakers passed this sloppy legislation in 2005 after considerable arm-twisting. It includes the hated Alternative Minimum Tax, which taxes businesses whether or not they make a profit.

Raising taxes on businesses and entrepreneurs while at the same time campaigning about how bringing new jobs to Kentucky is a top priority just doesn’t pass the logic test.

Logic dictates not taxing those companies – at least until they make a profit. Businesses create new jobs that the state’s economic brain trust claims it wants.

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Welcome to Autumn. AKA Slow news day.

Who knew? Hal Rogers drops $400k on Lake Cumberland for tourism advertising. [H-L]

Too little too late? Gubernatorial candidates finally discuss public health and its problems. [H-L]

The Courier-Journal rightly questions both gubernatorial candidates’ health care agendas. Surprisingly, they hit on the scare tactics used to freak your shit out about socialized medicine. And they criticize both for being afraid to discuss a cigarette tax. What isn’t discussed is why neither candidate wants to provide health care for all Kentuckians– instead of just children or the elderly. [C-J]

Five of the six regional university boards have been stacked by Fletcher. Some day we’ll get little things like following the law right. Right? [C-J]

While Kentucky soldiers die left and right, things are just peachy in Iraq. We might not even need to stay there that much longer! [WP]

Getting Something Right

Fletcher, Kentucky and the Appalachian Regional Commission finally get something right. We’re finally offering grants to develop adventure tourism in Eastern Kentucky!

The state is making $623,000 available for grants of about $20,000 each for counties to generate so-called adventure tourism, Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced Tuesday. The money can be used to plan facilities.

The tactic was adopted after a study by Pros Consulting of Dallas showed increased spending on such tourism in Eastern Kentucky could generate 132,000 new visitors annually and $54 million to $99 million in economic impact. The ventures could create as many as 1,500 jobs.

We are absolutely shocked (SHOCKED!) that the Commonwealth is recognizing what a gem we have in the Appalachian region.

Having been involved (Jake) in a long-term community development project with the Brushy Fork Institute in the 90s, we can say first-hand that adventure tourism in the Appalachians works. A group from Fayette County West Virginia developed a similar plan in their region that was met with great success.

Click Here to read the report.

Gallatin County repeals Sunday liquor sales, joins the middle ages

Very rarely (okay, we’re being kind) does something this absurd come down the pike. You read the headline correctly. Gallatin Co has repealed a two-year-old law allowing liquor sales on Sunday.

That’s right. Gallatin Co. In tourism-heavy Northern Kentucky. Has gone crazy.

We, like Tricia Houston, are blown away that people’s religious preferences are not just inhibiting progress in Kentucky but are pushing us back in time by a minimum of six decades.

Next week we’ll be discussing the merits of allowing women to show their faces in public.

Welcome to the stone age. Or Kabul. Or anywhere else where community leaders have stopped taking their meds.

Spending money to lose money

More from the Why Kentucky Can’t Have Nice Things Dept

ERNIE $$$What’s wrong with this picture? The state spent three times its previous marketing budget to promote tourism by taxing folks staying in hotels, which results in a downturn in state revenue for tourism.

Auditor Crit Luallen released the report critical of the tourism department, suggesting creation of a (light bulb going off here) strategic marketing plan and an oversight committee to keep an eye on how all the promotional money is being spent.

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Red State? Blue State?

How About WHITE State!

Our beloved homeland of Eastern Kentucky is among the whitest areas of the United States, according to the Census Bureau. Magoffin County, the birthplace of Larry Flynt, checks in with 98.9 percent of its population as milky white. That put it in with an Iowa county for whitest in the country, and 13 other Kentucky counties are more than 98 percent white. The Herald-Leader points out that these areas are also among the poorest and least educated.

Finally, it’s not the press perpetuating stereotypes, right? It’s the gubmint.

White Kentucky - Visit Appalachia

Poverty and education aside: go visit Appalachian Kentucky! Head east. It’s the gem of our fine state and it’s deserving of your tourism dollars. And Kentucky’s famed festival season starts at the end of the month.