Voters need to ‘rock’ the world of tax-and-spenders

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The Kentucky House Budget Committee has approved a tax package that balances Kentucky’s ledger on the backs of the commonwealth’s small businesses by suspending tax write-offs for losses. Unless the Senate wants to avoid one mad Kentucky taxpayer-columnist, it should avoid the same move. Rep. Harry Moberly’s small-minded rationale for this policy indicates he must not be aware that there’s a recession going on.

“The tax changes would cause little pain and were necessary in this time of sacrifice to allow this state to continue to move forward,” Moberly, D- Richmond, said in a story by the Associated Press.

Never mind that the U.S. Small Business Administration reports that 97 percent of Kentucky’s employers are small businesses producing 60 percent of the state’s new jobs and employing half of its private workforce.

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Never mind that Kentucky should do everything in its power to create jobs, especially considering its unemployment rate sits at 10.7 percent — and that figure only represents folks who haven’t given up looking for a job.

Not only have House leaders done little of significance to create new jobs, they concoct policies that harm small businesses, the very incubators for new jobs.

“Small businesses that have struggled in recent years and were depending on the write-off this year to finish existing projects or engage in new capital projects will no longer be able to under this bill’s language,” said Andy Hightower, executive director of Kentucky Club for Growth.

These big-spending lawmakers say these moves will create $300 million in new “needed” revenue, a move that satisfies the whiny crowd of taxpayer-supported agencies that recently rallied at the Capitol to sing in unison: “Raise Revenue.”

But like Hightower observed: “This need for social services would not be so great if the administration quit approving policies that prevent people from getting jobs.”

The good news: Moberly will soon be taking his big-spending ways into the land of retirement. The bad news: Rep. Rick Rand, B- Bedford, who apparently suffers from the same big-government spending malady, is taking his place as head of the powerful budget committee.

Rand said he and his colleagues “looked under every rock” for ways to balance the budget before pouncing on small businesses.

No evidence exists that legislators turned over the “Pension Rock.”

They could undo legislation passed a few years ago by Moberly and other Frankfort “lifers” that changed the formula for lawmaker pensions. Moberly — at Frankfort’s trough for 31 years — talks about “sacrifice“ but ignores giving taxpayers a break by ending millions in pension payments to lawmakers — including himself and free lifetime health care for them and their dependents.

In fact, did alegislator from either party offer to forego his or her pension?

Moberly, Rand and their fellow tax gougers would not notice the “Pension Rock” if Ernest T. Bass tossed it through a window into their chambers. Let’s look under another rock for the geologist Rand: the “Filmmaker Incentive Rock.”

Rand overlooked Kentucky paying $5 million in incentives to Hollywood to make films here while socking it to small businesses — the proven job creators — from Princeton to Pikeville.

Space does not permit stacking up all the rocks left unturned by Rand and other legislative “miners” who can only strike gold when it involves drilling into taxpayers’ pockets. But Mr. Magoo could not miss two obvious ones: requiring state workers to pay a larger share of their health care costs and eliminating the practice of paying higher wages to workers on public projects instead of borrowing to repair dilapidated schools. Until Frankfort’s politicians renounce their fat pensions and failed economic policies, Kentuckians will share frustration — and hopefully, a determination to end business as usual in upcoming elections.

Jim Waters is director of policy and communications for the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank. Reach him at jwaters@freedomkentucky.com. Read previously published columns at www.bipps.org.

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