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==Personnel==
 
==Personnel==
 
*Executive Director - J.C. McElroy
 
*Executive Director - J.C. McElroy
*Director -  Peter J. Van
 
*Director - Elizabeth Freer
 
  
 
==Contact==
 
==Contact==
 
*cfgagov@yahoo.com
 
*cfgagov@yahoo.com
  
==January 2009 Newsletter==
+
==Current Newsletter==
===Judge Jenkins' County Clerk Appointment===
+
This is the February 2013 CFGA newsletter.
Since 2007 it was rumored that county clerk Billy Steve Peak planned to retire before his term was up and County Judge Jody Jenkins would appoint his own cousin, Billy Steve’s son, Trey Peak to fill the clerk’s position.  Two other longtime courthouse employees also asked Judge Jenkins about the clerk’s position.  It is speculated that it was a done deal soon after the November 2006 elections and no one else need apply.
+
  
Most [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_County,_Kentucky Union County] residents seem outraged and have asked; how could this happen?  The answer is two fold.  The county ‘leaders’ never adopted the state recommended anti-nepotism laws of 2004.  If they had this appointment would be illegal.  The other reason is on the county voters.  The majority of whom continually elect the same two or three families to run the county over the past 25 years. And the county has been on a downhill slide ever since, in population and good job creation.  Citizens always get uneducated results from uneducated people.  That is the foundation for hiring people with an education.  Citizens can not solely blame Trey Peak’s appointment on Billy Steve and Connie.  Others told the judge they were interested in the position should Billy Steve retire.  County Judge Jenkins has the only authority to make this appointment.
+
Ky. State Senator Dorsey Ridley
 +
Capitol Annex Room 255
 +
Frankfort, Ky. 40601
  
*'''Damage Control''':  Although the story in the Advocate regarding Trey Peak’s appointment to county clerk made no mention that Judge Jenkins had made the appointment, the story  that ran in the Evansville paper covering the Jenkins appointment of the new clerk was pure political damage control.  Few said that Jenkins had done a decent job as judge until this appointment.  They must have already forgotten about the two trips/vacations he and his wife took at taxpayer expense (New York ’08, Czech Republic ’07), the jail loss being swept under the rug and the corresponding occupational tax to cover it, the bonus money increase, and no apparent plan to fix any of these taxpayer burdens.  Not to mention the other issues we cover in this newsletter.
+
Dear Senator Ridley;
  
*'''Deflect The Blame''':  Many have said they plan to vote against Trey Peak in 2010. But if they vote Judge Jenkins back in he will probably just appoint Trey to some other position.  Most Union County voters probably never think that far in advance, even on election day. That’s how the same families stay in office.  The history of the Union County voting record is probably on Jenkins’ side.  Union County voters have never been good at electing the most educated or experienced for the job, or removing them from office for mismanagement, tax increases, etc.  But then what do you really expect in a county that’s  education level ranks it in the bottom 8% (u/c school system website) in a state that ranks in the bottom 3 nationally.  Here’s hoping we can change that image in  2010.
+
In regards to your letter dated Dec. 2012, requesting comments/input, the following items are of concern to us, as we have addressed them, and others, in many of our past CFGA newsletters.
  
Big Paychecks:  On December 12, 2008,  [http://citizensgovernment.com/ Citizens For Government Accountability] Executive-Director  J.C. McElroy sent a certified open records request via the [[Kentucky Open Records Act]] to County Clerk Billy Steve Peak requesting Mr. Peak’s salary as clerk and the salary of his wife ConnieMr. Peak signed for the letter of request but never responded, as required by lawOn December 22nd   the CFGA contacted the Ky. State Attorney Generals Office  regarding this unanswered requestThe atty. generals actions were the following day to Mr. Peak’s office.  The following information was received from county clerk Billy Steve Peak on December 31, 2009,  dated  the 29th, regarding a request.
+
==School Property Tax==
 +
Way too high for what we’ve gotten in return. If simply throwing money at the problem was the answer, then every Kentucky student would be ready for HarvardSchool issues have been reported in our newsletters dated Jan. ’08, July ’08, Jan. ’09, April 2010. Sept. 2010.  The school tax portion of property taxes in Union County (U/C) are 61% of the total taxThis does not include school tax on other bills (utility, phone, etc.)  The problem is too much administration cost going to operate the school system, whether a failing school or not, and not enough going into the classroomWhy does U/C school system need a $65,000/year public relations person?
 +
    
 +
To correct the school tax issue we strongly suggest implementing similar school property tax legislation as to what former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels did regarding this issueAs much as we hate to brag on these yankee hoosiers; they lowered and capped school property taxes in their state, forced more of the money away from administration and into the classroom. They have a better national ranking than Ky. (not hard to do.) They don’t have a deficit, but enough of a surplus in govt. accounts that every taxpayer got a $300 credit toward their 2012 tax return.  That is political leadership! 
  
**Billy Steve Peak – Union County Clerk- salary  $75,143   
+
===$8 million for a new Catholic school?===
**Connie Peak Deputy Clerk – salary $50,767.  
+
As voted on and approved by the U/C fiscal court on Nov. 13, 2012; Union County helping the Owensboro diocese build a new school in Morganfield with the county’s aid of $8 million in bonding assistance may not equal the landmark 2010 separation of church and state case of University of Cumberland vs. Rev. Pennybacker, but it does concern us equally.  What precedent does this really set?  If any of the many protestant churches in the county ask for this kind of assistance will they get it?  It should be all treated equally or not at all.  ''“What has been the effort of religious coercion? But to make half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.”'' – Thomas Jefferson –1785.
  
It is easy to see why they wanted their son to have this positionThese salaries are atrociousTo simply oversee the filing of documents, etc.  Like most all elected position – No education or experience requiredCompared to private sector jobs of this nature, pay would be 1/3 to ½ this amount.
+
==Predacious by nature; State/county bureaucracies equals higher taxes==
 +
We understand it is the nature of government to create more government agencies, disguised as a benefit for the average citizenThere is no denying that good things can come from local boards of citizensThe problem arises when the ‘board’ requests and is granted taxing authority by its fiscal court.  Most all of Ky. counties have various boards or commissions such as library, extension, health dept., etc.  Not all counties have granted them ‘taxing authority’Once granted, the fiscal court rarely has the courage to take away such taxing ability.  Simply put, a board has a voice to make recommendations. Given taxing authority, they have the ability to tax for their benefit, which creates power. And no one wants to give up power, especially to tax. Everyone on such boards always thinks they can spend your money better than you, and do things they consider great. 
  
*'''N.T.U. Weighs In''':  The [http://www.ntu.org/ National Taxpayers Union] states that the reason state and local governments run big deficits is overpaying salaries and benefits far beyond what a regular business would pay. They state that govt. unions, better know as elected officials associations, have successfully lobbied the legislature for and gotten much greater pay and what politicians call ‘entitlement’ benefits for themselves, thus costing taxpayers millions more a year.  The N.T.U.’s  research and analysis shows in Kentucky the savings in state taxes alone would be $152 per person, or a net savings to the state govt. taxpayers of over $252 million a year.
+
The following are examples where state recommendations/oversight might help at the local level.
  
'''Foot note''':  school teachers are the only government employees with a union. Elected officials have ‘associations’. (i.e. County Judges’ Assc., County Atty. Assc., Jailers Assc. , Clerks Assc., etc.) They all pay an annual membership fee (if they join) of roughly $1,000/yr.  In Union County elected officials have their dues paid by the county taxpayers out of their office expenses.
+
===Union County Library Tax===
 
+
A few years ago the board had accumulated roughly a half-million dollars in it’s tax funded account and voted to build onto the existing library at a cost of roughly $1 million. This in a county of less than 15 thousand peopleThe rest was paid off via the state tax payersAs with any of these projects, the county taxpayers are left with paying extra taxes to operate a large building.  For the past two decades anyone with internet access can access any library in the world with just a few clicks, or download any bookThe glaring reality is when you look at your property tax bill and see the library tax is almost half of what the county gets to operate the entire county. The county often ‘supplements’ many of these buildings, as has been reported in our past newsletters, via open records request of the county.   We suggest that the fiscal court take away the library’s taxing authorityDoing so might require a slight increase in the county portion of taxes, but it would still be less in overall property taxes.   
===Union County School System Salaries===
+
 
+
Prior to the recent school board elections, the board saw fit to raise our property taxes once againFortunately, two new board members were electedHopefully they can bring a better measure of negotiating skills and common economic sense on behalf of the taxpayers and parentsHere are some facts received by Citizen For Government Accountability via an open records request of the school system central office.
+
 
+
There are 166 full-time teachers in the [[Union County Schools | Union County School System]].  School board pay is $75 per meeting with a cap at $3,000 per calendar yearThis is the only cost to taxpayers that is not an over payment.  The school board has the same taxing authority as the judge-executive and magistrates. In contrast, the county magistrates make over $13,000/yr. each plus benefits. The fiscal court meets twice a monthAll magistrates are full-time employed elsewhere, but the judge-executive allows them to claim full-time hours as magistrates in order to receive healthcare benefits at taxpayer expenseThus making Union County magistrates some of the highest paid per capita in the state. (as reported to us via state auditors figures ’05-’06)  Salaries of note are:
+
 
   
 
   
*'''Director of Pupil Personnel''':  $89,104
+
We commend the citizens of Hopkins County for letting the magistrates there know a few years ago that if they granted taxing authority to their library board, as was requested, there would be new magistrates after the next election.  
*'''Director of Special Education''': $84,048
+
*'''District Technology''': $59,138
+
*'''Instructional Coordinator''': $84,048
+
*'''Assistant Superintendent/Treasurer''': $87,663  
+
*'''UCHS Principal''': $83,203
+
*'''UCHS Assistant Principal''': $76,538 
+
*'''UCMS Principal''': $84,048 
+
*'''UCMS Assistant Principal''': $75,440 
+
*'''Principals at''': Morganfield $78,333 ;Sturgis Elementary $77,174 ;Uniontown $81,270
+
  
===Jenkins Occupational Tax===
+
===Extension Tax===
 +
While we are of a farming/ranching background, it is troubling to many of us when we asked why the county extension service recently bought a large vacant piece of property next to them, and spent thousands more to clear the trees. The response was that it was voted on by the board. That they had a lot of money sitting in their account from taxes and interest didn’t pay anything these days.  When this becomes the situation then it seems they should give the money back to the taxpayer, or lower or eliminate the tax.  It is a clear example of lack of oversight and true accountability that the new state auditor recently spoke of in regards to these types of boards.  At a minimum there needs to be a state law regarding this.  We once again give reference to the Daniels plan enacted in Indiana; once a set level of tax is collect per fund/board, a tax credit is given to the taxpayer in the following years. Not go out and buy/build something.  When the library and extension tax are more than the health dept. tax,  you know there is a strong lack of oversight at the fiscal court level.
  
If the job loss wasn’t bad enough, former Rayloc employees that received severance pay found out when they received their severance checks that the county had withheld the occupational tax, making it an (un)occupational tax for those workers.  Will Trelleborg be next?  EZ Access laid off roughly 15 of its 20 employees back in December.
+
===Elected Officials Associations===
 +
(covered in Jan.’09 newsletter) We strongly feel no elected officials should be allowed to form an association/union to lobby the legislature for higher pay/benefits.  It came to our attention several years ago in talks with the state auditor’s office regarding this matter.  While membership is voluntary, the roughly $1,000/year dues per office holder is usually charged back to the taxpayer as an office expense, (this fact found through our open records request and county budget).
  
The job situation isn’t all bad.  Ameriqual Foods (Evansville) hired nearly 400 workers in September. Sonoco Products (Henderson) hired less than 10 new workers at years end, as well as a few others in the Evansville-Henderson area that have added a few jobsThe new coal mines is still looking for workers who can pass the pre-employment drug screenSources report that 2 out of 3 people that have applied at the mines have failed the second drug test prior to employment.
+
Example: in the late 1990’s the Ky. Jailers Assc. successfully lobbied the legislators to grant them by law equal pay to the county judge-executiveAll office holders seem to want more pay/benefits from the taxpayerWhat has been the benefit to the taxpayer?
  
Aside from taking the occupational tax from Rayloc workers severance pay, the current Jenkins administration has also increased the extra pay to the county treasurer and the two women in the judge’s office from $18,000 to $22,000/yrAll three women carry the extra title of assistant county treasurer in order to legally collect the extra pay  for doing this part of the treasurer’s jobThis makes the county treasurer an assistant to herself, in an office that does not really exist.
+
===Area Development Districts (ADD’s)===
 +
We realize all counties by state statute must belong to yet another form of bureaucracy known as their area development district.  We feel this is a good place to save taxpayer money.  The true benefit of belonging to an ADD is questionable, especially with there being a department of local government (DLG) in Frankfort, as well as other agencies who are most helpful in answering questions on how to get things done.  We have reported in many past newsletters (via our open records requests) about the lavish trips, some to other countries, organized by ADD’s such as GRADD, at taxpayer expense, for the sole benefit of its directors, who are county judge-executives, and their families. How can this be justified as a necessity to the taxpayer, and still ask for their vote.  
 +
    
 +
==Energy Points of Concern== 
 +
===Unmined minerals tax===
 +
We feel only coal, oil, gas, and corporations that derive the majority of their income from mineral holdings should have to pay this tax. For all others, this tax is the equivalent of being taxed a percentage of the jackpot amount for simple buying a lottery ticketOnly a bureaucrat would come up with such a tax, or a govt. that has already wasted enough money and needs an extra source to continue to waste.  
  
When the first Judge-Executive Jenkins hired the current county treasurer she was not qualified to hold office under state law.  Representative [[John Arnold]] sponsored and got passed [http://kentuckyvotes.org/Legislation.aspx?SessionID=22&ChamberLegislationTypeID=41&Number=403&op=View House Bill 403] in less than a yearH.B. 403 changed state law in order to hire someone with limited or no experience under the age of 25, provided they had an education.   
+
===De-Monopolization with continued regulation===
 +
(covered in 4-10 newsletter) This has proven, in states such as Texas, to have spurred innovation, economic growth, and created many jobsIt gives consumers a choice in electric providers, and holds down monthly costs to consumers by having competition.  Texas did this nearly a decade ago, and consumers there have a choice of seven electric providers, all regulated by the stateIsn’t freedom suppose to be about having choices.  Of Note:  Century Aluminum (Hawesville) and Alcan Aluminum (Sebree) have announced they plan to move their plants out of Kentucky over rising electric costs and no alternative choice.       
  
In Comparison:  Other small counties we spoke with that also have an occupational tax to help support their jail (the other option is a countywide insurance tax) pay no extra money to the treasurer to collect or administer the computer program that handles the tax, nor have they hired extra assistants or paid any extra money to anyone.
+
===Fox In The Henhouse===
 +
(newsletters 1-’08 & 6-’09) With top electric company CEO’s making multi-million dollar compensation, it is ludicrous for power companies to get any rate/fee increase from the PSC and atty. general’s office.  It should be standard written policy that the state atty. general, and anyone in his energy regulation office, as well as all voting members of the PSC, should not be allowed to own stock, or have personal, family, or business ties to the companies they supposedly regulate.
  
===Bailout Country Club/John Arnold Arena===
+
Past rate increases are simply more of a negotiation.  Ask for a large amount, and take anything you can get.
  
As first reported on W.M.S.K., Judge Jenkins is hoping to get taxpayer funding in order for the Union County Tourism Department to buyout or take over the indebted Breckinridge Golf Course/ Country Club as well as the Arnold Arena.
+
==In Closing==
 +
These are but a few of the issues that are of concern to usWe hope you will draft meaningful legislation to these issues of concern, that will allow the citizen/taxpayer to keep more of  what money they have left.  However, as long as the majority of voters continue to elect the same people from the same political parties, they will get the same results from government. To that point; the majority must like paying high gas prices, no job creation, and no government accountability. They keep voting for it.
  
If the country club members cannot financially support the golf course, then why should the taxpayer?  Taxpayers already partially funded the golf course in SturgisKentucky State Auditors reports show government owned golf courses don’t make money anywhere in the state.  They lose money, big time.  One important question to ask is: What experience does the Union County Tourism Department have at successfully running  or managing a golf course and or a convention center?  The same as the fiscal court, NONE!    Hopefully, a private buyer will step upTaxpayers just spent $250,000 for a club house at the Sturgis golf course.
+
==Notable quotes==
 +
“''The good thing about a democracy is everyone has a voteThe bad thing about a democracy is everyone has a vote, and the majority prove themselves to be fools at every election.''” --Mark Twain
  
The Union County Fair & Expositions Center, (a.k.a. John Arnold Arena) is nice to have, but was overbuilt for a county this size.  Since it opened, it hasn’t been able to pay its own upkeep or operational expenses without state taxpayer assistance.  More importantly; If Union County elected leaders can’t even financially run a jail that is paid for without an occupational tax, then how can they expect us to reasonable believe they can run a golf course that is already broke, and an arena/convention center  that has been bleeding taxpayer money from day one.
+
“''The American republic will last until the politicians realize they can bribe the citizens with government money''” – Alexis DeTorqueville
  
Every one wants a bail out. Haven’t taxpayer’s dollars been misused enough?
+
“''The beginning of the end of this nation will be when the citizens realize they can vote themselves a check from the government by simply supporting a particular candidate or party.''” – Ben Franklin
  
===Issues To Watch===   
 
*'''Spec Building''': The fiscal court recently authorized nearly $850,000 to finish the Spec building in order to accommodate EZ Access.  EZ Access laid off all but 5 people in December.   
 
*'''County Taxpayer Loan via Kaco to Breckinridge Services''': As reported in our July ’08 newsletter the county judge and magistrates borrowed $1 million dollars from Ky. Assc. of Counties (KACO)  to loan to the non-profit company formed by local businessman  William ‘skeezie’ Beaven.  Breckinridge Services corporate non-profit filing with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office states it is in the nursing home and assisted living service.  We wish them the best of success in this venture.  Should the facility fail, the county (taxpayers) will be responsible for repaying this bond debt to KACO.  We would like to think that the County Judge and magistrates were smart enough to get Union County residents a cut rate at this facility, since we are footing $1million of the initial cost.  If not, most won’t be able to afford to stay there.
 
  
===Local Candidate Funding===
+
==Disclaimer==
Ever wonder who funds local candidates and markets them to voters as leaders?
+
Any attachments to this 2 page newsletter are not the work of anyone involved with the CFGA, and are therefore unauthorized.  We encourage all to distribute this newsletter, but attachments will be considered libelous by us.
 
+
Several people have asked us this question. The following information was obtained by request of the Ky. Registry of Election Finance Office, (kref.ky.gov)  for the 2006 general election in Union County for the following.  Largest contributor to the Union County Democratic Executive Committee:  State [[Democratic Party]] of Ky.  $1,000 ;  Brucie Moore $1,000.  Next largest contributor was under $100. and unnamed.
+
 
+
Largest contributor to Judge-Executive Jody Jenkins campaign: Brucie and Charles Moore  $1,750 ;  next largest contributor was $500 from the County Atty. from Fulton County,  Richard Major.
+
 
+
===In Closing===
+
We would like to thank all those who have commented on our past newsletters, even the 2 or 3 negative ones.  Those that told us; “ we should not be reporting the facts of Judge Jenkins and his wife taking trips/vacations to N.Y. and the Czech Republic at taxpayer expense, because they felt all great leaders deserve a vacation at taxpayer expense. The average person just doesn’t need to be made aware of it.”  We strongly disagree with this line of thinking.  Being friendly and popular makes you a good politician, not a great leader.  A good politician is seldom much of a leader.  Thanks to those that have contacted us (cfgagov@yahoo.com) and asked to receive our bi-annual newsletter via email.  It saves us time and money.  
+
  
 
==CFGA Newsletter Archives==
 
==CFGA Newsletter Archives==
 +
*[[Indiana Sales Tax Exemption for Farmers]]
 +
*[[CFGA September 2010 Newsletter | September 2010 Newsletter]]
 +
*[[CFGA April 2010 Newsletter | April 2010 Newsletter]]
 +
*[[CFGA January 2010 Newsletter | January 2010 Newsletter]]
 +
*[[CFGA June 2009 Newsletter | June 2009 Newsletter]]
 +
*[[CFGA January 2009 Newsletter | January 2009 newsletter]]
 
*[http://www.freedomkentucky.org/images/2/2a/CFGA_July_2008.pdf July 2008 newsletter]
 
*[http://www.freedomkentucky.org/images/2/2a/CFGA_July_2008.pdf July 2008 newsletter]
 
*[http://www.freedomkentucky.org/images/8/80/CFGA_Jan_2008.pdf January 2008 newsletter]
 
*[http://www.freedomkentucky.org/images/8/80/CFGA_Jan_2008.pdf January 2008 newsletter]
 
*[[CFGA August 2007 Newsletter | August 2007 newsletter]]
 
*[[CFGA August 2007 Newsletter | August 2007 newsletter]]
 +
  
 
==See Also==
 
==See Also==
Line 125: Line 122:
 
[[Category:Transparency]]
 
[[Category:Transparency]]
 
[[Category:Nonprofit]]
 
[[Category:Nonprofit]]
 +
[[Category:Citizens for Government Accountability]]

Latest revision as of 09:29, 14 February 2013

Citizens For Government Accountability



CFGA is a non-profit organization that fights for accountability in Union County, Kentucky and surrounding counties. CFGA formed in the spring of 2006 around in response to public policy issues such as the county jail and occupational taxes, and how local taxpayer money is spent on a variety of public buildings. CFGA obtains its information through interviews, formal open records requests, and attention to detail. [1] The organization publishes a regular newsletter featuring the latest information about issues concerning Union County.

Personnel

  • Executive Director - J.C. McElroy

Contact

  • cfgagov@yahoo.com

Current Newsletter

This is the February 2013 CFGA newsletter.

Ky. State Senator Dorsey Ridley Capitol Annex Room 255 Frankfort, Ky. 40601

Dear Senator Ridley;

In regards to your letter dated Dec. 2012, requesting comments/input, the following items are of concern to us, as we have addressed them, and others, in many of our past CFGA newsletters.

School Property Tax

Way too high for what we’ve gotten in return. If simply throwing money at the problem was the answer, then every Kentucky student would be ready for Harvard. School issues have been reported in our newsletters dated Jan. ’08, July ’08, Jan. ’09, April 2010. Sept. 2010. The school tax portion of property taxes in Union County (U/C) are 61% of the total tax. This does not include school tax on other bills (utility, phone, etc.) The problem is too much administration cost going to operate the school system, whether a failing school or not, and not enough going into the classroom. Why does U/C school system need a $65,000/year public relations person?

To correct the school tax issue we strongly suggest implementing similar school property tax legislation as to what former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels did regarding this issue. As much as we hate to brag on these yankee hoosiers; they lowered and capped school property taxes in their state, forced more of the money away from administration and into the classroom. They have a better national ranking than Ky. (not hard to do.) They don’t have a deficit, but enough of a surplus in govt. accounts that every taxpayer got a $300 credit toward their 2012 tax return. That is political leadership!

$8 million for a new Catholic school?

As voted on and approved by the U/C fiscal court on Nov. 13, 2012; Union County helping the Owensboro diocese build a new school in Morganfield with the county’s aid of $8 million in bonding assistance may not equal the landmark 2010 separation of church and state case of University of Cumberland vs. Rev. Pennybacker, but it does concern us equally. What precedent does this really set? If any of the many protestant churches in the county ask for this kind of assistance will they get it? It should be all treated equally or not at all. – “What has been the effort of religious coercion? But to make half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.” – Thomas Jefferson –1785.

Predacious by nature; State/county bureaucracies equals higher taxes

We understand it is the nature of government to create more government agencies, disguised as a benefit for the average citizen. There is no denying that good things can come from local boards of citizens. The problem arises when the ‘board’ requests and is granted taxing authority by its fiscal court. Most all of Ky. counties have various boards or commissions such as library, extension, health dept., etc. Not all counties have granted them ‘taxing authority’. Once granted, the fiscal court rarely has the courage to take away such taxing ability. Simply put, a board has a voice to make recommendations. Given taxing authority, they have the ability to tax for their benefit, which creates power. And no one wants to give up power, especially to tax. Everyone on such boards always thinks they can spend your money better than you, and do things they consider great.

The following are examples where state recommendations/oversight might help at the local level.

Union County Library Tax

A few years ago the board had accumulated roughly a half-million dollars in it’s tax funded account and voted to build onto the existing library at a cost of roughly $1 million. This in a county of less than 15 thousand people. The rest was paid off via the state tax payers. As with any of these projects, the county taxpayers are left with paying extra taxes to operate a large building. For the past two decades anyone with internet access can access any library in the world with just a few clicks, or download any book. The glaring reality is when you look at your property tax bill and see the library tax is almost half of what the county gets to operate the entire county. The county often ‘supplements’ many of these buildings, as has been reported in our past newsletters, via open records request of the county. We suggest that the fiscal court take away the library’s taxing authority. Doing so might require a slight increase in the county portion of taxes, but it would still be less in overall property taxes.

We commend the citizens of Hopkins County for letting the magistrates there know a few years ago that if they granted taxing authority to their library board, as was requested, there would be new magistrates after the next election.

Extension Tax

While we are of a farming/ranching background, it is troubling to many of us when we asked why the county extension service recently bought a large vacant piece of property next to them, and spent thousands more to clear the trees. The response was that it was voted on by the board. That they had a lot of money sitting in their account from taxes and interest didn’t pay anything these days. When this becomes the situation then it seems they should give the money back to the taxpayer, or lower or eliminate the tax. It is a clear example of lack of oversight and true accountability that the new state auditor recently spoke of in regards to these types of boards. At a minimum there needs to be a state law regarding this. We once again give reference to the Daniels plan enacted in Indiana; once a set level of tax is collect per fund/board, a tax credit is given to the taxpayer in the following years. Not go out and buy/build something. When the library and extension tax are more than the health dept. tax, you know there is a strong lack of oversight at the fiscal court level.

Elected Officials Associations

(covered in Jan.’09 newsletter) We strongly feel no elected officials should be allowed to form an association/union to lobby the legislature for higher pay/benefits. It came to our attention several years ago in talks with the state auditor’s office regarding this matter. While membership is voluntary, the roughly $1,000/year dues per office holder is usually charged back to the taxpayer as an office expense, (this fact found through our open records request and county budget).

Example: in the late 1990’s the Ky. Jailers Assc. successfully lobbied the legislators to grant them by law equal pay to the county judge-executive. All office holders seem to want more pay/benefits from the taxpayer. What has been the benefit to the taxpayer?

Area Development Districts (ADD’s)

We realize all counties by state statute must belong to yet another form of bureaucracy known as their area development district. We feel this is a good place to save taxpayer money. The true benefit of belonging to an ADD is questionable, especially with there being a department of local government (DLG) in Frankfort, as well as other agencies who are most helpful in answering questions on how to get things done. We have reported in many past newsletters (via our open records requests) about the lavish trips, some to other countries, organized by ADD’s such as GRADD, at taxpayer expense, for the sole benefit of its directors, who are county judge-executives, and their families. How can this be justified as a necessity to the taxpayer, and still ask for their vote.

Energy Points of Concern

Unmined minerals tax

We feel only coal, oil, gas, and corporations that derive the majority of their income from mineral holdings should have to pay this tax. For all others, this tax is the equivalent of being taxed a percentage of the jackpot amount for simple buying a lottery ticket. Only a bureaucrat would come up with such a tax, or a govt. that has already wasted enough money and needs an extra source to continue to waste.

De-Monopolization with continued regulation

(covered in 4-10 newsletter) This has proven, in states such as Texas, to have spurred innovation, economic growth, and created many jobs. It gives consumers a choice in electric providers, and holds down monthly costs to consumers by having competition. Texas did this nearly a decade ago, and consumers there have a choice of seven electric providers, all regulated by the state. Isn’t freedom suppose to be about having choices. Of Note: Century Aluminum (Hawesville) and Alcan Aluminum (Sebree) have announced they plan to move their plants out of Kentucky over rising electric costs and no alternative choice.

Fox In The Henhouse

(newsletters 1-’08 & 6-’09) With top electric company CEO’s making multi-million dollar compensation, it is ludicrous for power companies to get any rate/fee increase from the PSC and atty. general’s office. It should be standard written policy that the state atty. general, and anyone in his energy regulation office, as well as all voting members of the PSC, should not be allowed to own stock, or have personal, family, or business ties to the companies they supposedly regulate.

Past rate increases are simply more of a negotiation. Ask for a large amount, and take anything you can get.

In Closing

These are but a few of the issues that are of concern to us. We hope you will draft meaningful legislation to these issues of concern, that will allow the citizen/taxpayer to keep more of what money they have left. However, as long as the majority of voters continue to elect the same people from the same political parties, they will get the same results from government. To that point; the majority must like paying high gas prices, no job creation, and no government accountability. They keep voting for it.

Notable quotes

The good thing about a democracy is everyone has a vote. The bad thing about a democracy is everyone has a vote, and the majority prove themselves to be fools at every election.” --Mark Twain

The American republic will last until the politicians realize they can bribe the citizens with government money” – Alexis DeTorqueville

The beginning of the end of this nation will be when the citizens realize they can vote themselves a check from the government by simply supporting a particular candidate or party.” – Ben Franklin


Disclaimer

Any attachments to this 2 page newsletter are not the work of anyone involved with the CFGA, and are therefore unauthorized. We encourage all to distribute this newsletter, but attachments will be considered libelous by us.

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See Also

References

  1. Citizens For Government Accountability Website