Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

April 23, 2014

Politics vs. good government - 2014 edition


Journal-Times

April 23, 2014 — There is an old saying about how legislators feel about certain issues that come before the General Assembly.

With the 2014 session over, we’re reminded of that expression:

“If it’s good for the other party, it’s pure politics. But, if it’s positive for our party, it’s just good government.”

The Democratic leadership in the House was trying to protect its slim majority in this year’s legislative elections while helping Alison Lundergan Grimes seriously contend for the U. S. Senate.

Republican leaders in the Senate were trying to help U. S. Sen. Mitch McConnell win reelection while assisting in the GOP takeover of the House.

Neither party wanted to raise taxes because of possible voter backlash back home. Both parties had special interests they wanted to protect.

In a state starving for revenue after six straight years of budget cuts, the legislature failed to get the question of casino gambling on a statewide ballot as a constitutional amendment.

Neither did lawmakers seriously consider any of the tax reform proposals but they did approve a tax break for the whiskey industry which is booming worldwide.

Despite the fact an estimated 1,000 Kentuckians die each year from the effects of second-hand smoke, we still do not have a statewide ban on indoor smoking in public places.

Public school teachers and state government workers will get pitifully small pay raises.

College tuition will go up again to cover the sixth straight year of cuts in state support for public universities and community colleges.

Strangely, we won’t be spending as much money on coal mine inspections.

Cities wanted to ask voters if Kentucky could join other states with local option sales taxes. That didn’t happen, either.

By session’s end, we had figured out the General Assembly’s election year strategy – say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.