Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Editorials

November 21, 2012

State auditor found it, legislators must fix it

Nov. 21, 2012 — State Auditor Adam Edelen is doing a great service for the taxpayers of Kentucky in his bold exposure of the weaknesses of existing laws and regulations governing special districts.

Those little known units of local government that levy taxes or collect fees for services totaling more than $2.7 billion annually have virtually no oversight requirements.

And the few that do have them apparently don’t pay any attention to being held accountable for the public’s money.

The auditor’s staff spent six months wading through hundreds of laws and regulations and gleaning records to identify a starting list of 1,268 special districts.

That online list (citizenauditor.ky.gov) will change over the next several months as some are added and others removed.

Seven special districts are listed for Carter County and the Journal-Times will be examining each of them in a series of articles in the coming weeks.

Statewide, Auditor Edelen is doing an outstanding job of framing these critically important public policy questions.

That means the 138 members of the General Assembly must be equal to the task of finding answers to those questions, starting in the 2013 session in January.

It seems obvious that many special districts in Kentucky do their work honestly and diligently and that the vast majority of individuals who serve on their boards are good citizens.

But as we have seen on several occasions in recent months, access to public funds with little or no oversight can become a temptation to break the rules.

We were shocked by the disclosure that 447 of the special districts, responsible for $460 million in tax revenues, have never been audited.

More than 500 districts are not submitting required yearly financial statements to the Kentucky Department for Local Government.

The auditor found that some of the more than 1,000 state laws affecting special districts were written more than a century ago.

Text Only
Editorials
  • Politics vs. good government - 2014 edition

    There is an old saying about how legislators feel about certain issues that come before the General Assembly.

    April 23, 2014

  • Juvenile justice bill finally wins passage

    We complained in this space last month that the General Assembly, specifically the Senate, was headed down the wrong path in its handling of Senate Bill 200, a carefully-crafted, broadly supported effort to modernize Kentucky’s juvenile justice laws.

    April 16, 2014

  • Numbers say stop fussin’ and start fixin’!

    We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again. It is long past time for Republicans like U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell to stop complaining about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and start working with the other party to fix the pieces of the massive law that need fixing.

    April 9, 2014

  • Benching Rupp Arena project a mistake

    Folks who believe that college basketball is more important than anything else in Kentucky apparently don’t serve in the State Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Snow days decision can wait no longer

    We had hoped this editorial would not have been necessary by the time you read it in today’s issue of the Journal-Times.

    March 26, 2014

  • Are some legislators smarter than experts?

    Ready - shoot - aim. No good deed goes unpunished. There’s the right way, the wrong way and the Frankfort way. We could go on with pithy sayings about the strange happenings at the State Capitol when the Kentucky General Assembly is in session.

    March 19, 2014

  • Shouldn’t majority rule mean smoke-free?

    Recent statewide polls show as many as 65 percent of Kentucky voters say they are in favor of outlawing smoking in workplaces and public facilities, including restaurants and bars.

    March 12, 2014

  • Legalized marijuana, hemp must be explored

    Whether you call it marijuana or cannabis or whether you believe someone can get high on industrial hemp, Kentucky is making history with both plants.

    March 5, 2014

  • We must protect against dating violence

    We were encouraged when the leadership of the Kentucky House of Representatives came forward last month with House Bill 8 to amend the domestic violence protection laws to shield unmarried individuals in dating relationships.

    February 26, 2014

  • Did Bluegrass Poll predict our future?

    Life may have become much simpler for Kentucky voters recently when the Bluegrass Poll released its most recent survey.

    February 19, 2014

Poll