There’s no doubt that Republican control is hurting Kentucky. Republicans have fought to lower wages and safety with right-to-work and the repeal of prevailing wage, drain funding from public education with charter schools, dismantle Kynect and kick Kentuckians off healthcare. But they’re not finished yet.
Under Republican control, Kentucky’s revenue growth has been in a free fall. Our state enjoyed a 5.3 percent revenue growth in Gov. Steve Beshear’s last year in office, but under Gov. Matt Bevin, that growth has stalled to 3.7 percent in 2016 and Gov. Bevin’s own budget director, John Chilton, projects it will be 1.6 percent for 2017.
Chilton said for 2017, he projected a $113.2 million shortfall in Kentucky’s revenue. He blamed the shortfall on weak job growth leading to lower than expected revenues from income tax and sales tax. Yes, even Bevin’s people admit: the shortfall is due to weak job growth.
Gov. Bevin grabbed huge headlines recently with a job announcement in Greenup County, claiming credit for a company’s decision to locate to Kentucky to produce aluminum for the car and aerospace industry. However, what Bevin isn’t telling you is that Kentucky already had been attracting business and jobs at a record-setting pace, leading the country per capita under Gov. Steve Beshear. Our state won Site Selection Magazine’s Governor’s Cup in 2014 and 2015, both resulting from Gov. Beshear’s efforts and leadership.
Meantime, the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, has released that unemployment in Kentucky rose, or got worse, in 53 counties from March 2016 to March of 2017.
That announcement came on the heels of the same agency saying that from February 2016 to February 2017, unemployment had risen in only three counties. Why the jump from three counties to 53?
This is a question for one person: Gov. Matt Bevin. However, Matt Bevin doesn’t answer any questions. He and his spokespeople go for weeks without answering questions or returning phone calls.
Just ask Louisville television reporter William Joy of WAVE 3, who uncovered new details in Bevin’s $1.6 million purchase of a home that is worth at least $3 million. The seller, Neil Ramsey, scored an appointment on the board for Kentucky Retirement Systems, while Bevin worked out a sweetheart deal for the 9,000-square-foot, 28-room mansion at a bargain-basement price. Joy reported that “Bevin wouldn’t talk about the issue at all. He hasn’t responded to WAVE 3 News’ requests for an interview.”