Kentucky has one of the worst-funded pensions in the country, and it is dragging down our credit rating and threatening to bankrupt us in the future. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader: “Kentucky’s next governor will inherit about $30 billion in public pension debt from departing Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear — more than twice what the state government spends in a year, and up 40 percent since voters re-elected Beshear in 2011. Nothing else is likely to cast a darker shadow over the incoming administration.”
The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition believes this is one of the biggest looming problems threatening Kentucky’s future, and seeks to promote ideas that will remove this Sword of Damocles from above the head of the next generation.
We believe immediate action must be taken to shore up the system, and to reduce obligations that simply cannot be met in the future. We also believe that a key reform is eliminating pensions for future legislators. These are part time jobs not meant to fund lavish retirements for career politicians.
Kentucky’s antiquated tax code holds us back, and it is beyond disappointing that Kentucky’s leaders have failed to take decisive action on comprehensive tax reform over the years. We need an overall reduction in taxes on productivity, and a flatter and simpler system that encourages investment in our state instead of discourages it.
Our current system – a series of patched-together loopholes – is unwieldy and in some cases unfair. Kentucky also levies some “fees” that aren’t called taxes but simply go by another name. The goal should be lower taxes inside of a flatter, simpler, and fairer system that doesn’t punish production.
Kentucky is long overdue to join the rest of the South in passing right-to-work legislation. Frankfort’s stubborn refusal to do this has cost our state countless jobs over the years.
It is a myth that right-to-work laws destroy unions; in fact, several states that recently passed right-to-work laws actually saw increases in union membership.
We simply don’t believe Kentucky workers should be forced to join and pay dues to a union just to have a right to hold that job, particularly when that union uses the money to engage in political activities that not every dues payer agrees with.
We fully sympathize with and support the Kentucky counties who have taken it upon themselves to pass local right-to-work laws because of Frankfort’s intransigence. We urge Kentucky’s policymakers to take these county battles off the table by passing a state law.
Prevailing Wage Reform
Kentucky should immediately exempt all state projects from prevailing wage laws, which massively drive up the cost of public projects and cost taxpayers millions of unnecessary dollars on things like school construction. Overpaying to build schools means we can’t build as many as we could! Our school kids again take a back seat to union bosses who have put these laws in place.
Kentucky has lagged other states in providing more choices for our kids, especially those trapped in failing schools. We need school choice to empower parents who want something better for their kids. Forcing kids to attend failing public schools year after year dooms them to less opportunity than kids who were lucky enough to be born in better districts.
We endorse the idea of school choice, education scholarship tax credits, and encourage looking at other ideas that will give parents more choices and create better educational outcomes for all Kentucky students.
We do not oppose public education and, in fact, encourage and support reforms that will strengthen all schools, public and non-public.
Medical Malpractice Reform
Kentucky is one of the worst states when it comes to favoring trial lawyers over doctors and health care professionals. While other states have moved against profiteering trial attorneys who syphon money out of our health care system using frivolous lawsuits, Kentucky has stubbornly – as it has on many issues – turned a blind eye.
As a result, we have a doctor shortage and access to health care – especially in rural areas – is reduced every day.
Kentucky should adopt medical malpractice reform – at the least in the form of medical review panels – and move to solve the problem of out-of-state trial lawyer destroying access to quality care.