“When you give government more permission to take your money, they will.”
—Rep. Ben Waide

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (1/20/14) – Approximately 40 people attended Monday morning's Legislative Breakfast sponsored by the Madisonville - Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce and Baptist Health to listen to area state legislators about issues being addressed in the current legislative session.

The panel of two Republicans and three Democrats were in agreement on a number of issues and had stark differences on others.

All agreed that they would have to wait until the governor makes his budget proposal before they could really get to work on the details. All agreed that I-69 would continue to be a priority.

State Sen. Jerry Rhoads said that the interchange at the intersection of the Western Kentucky and Pennyrile parkways is progressing.

representatives 500

State Rep. Ben Waide said that he had met with District 2 Highway Engineer Kevin McClearn, and that good progress is being made to designate more sections of the old parkways to I-69 standards.

All were in agreement that the Mid-Town Commons connector road is on their radars. State Rep. Brent Yonts said that he hoped the project was on Gov. Beshear’s list; but if not, he will work to put it in the House plan and said there is a high probability of getting it done.

State Rep. Myron Dossett, whose 9th District will extend into Hopkins County, said that he would make the connector road a priority as well.

waide 300All were also in agreement that they would like to see a new Murray State building on the Madisonville Community College campus. Rhoads said that communities requesting capital construction projects should expect to contribute a significant portion of the cost. Yonts added that even University of Kentucky projects were being funded by their own bonding.

Likewise, the five men hoped that teachers and state employees would see some pay increases after several years of no Cost of Living adjustments.

State Rep. Jim Gooch said that education is an economic development issue. He hopes that SEEK funding relief is in the governor’s plan.

When the discussion came to budget priorities, the panelists began to differ. Waide said that the state needed to tighten its belt. He is very concerned about the ballooning costs of Medicaid. Waide pointed out that 60 precent of the state’s budget is for education and Medicaid is crowding out dollars that should be spent on education.
Gooch is also concerned about Medicaid. He pointed out that 800,000 of Kentucky’s 4.2 million people were on Medicaid. Under the Affordable Care Act, he expects the number to increase about 50 percent to 1.2 million or 28 percent of total population.

“This is being paid for by the federal right now,” he said. “In three years, Kentucky will have to pay 30 percent”.

Gooch said he has asked for the numbers from the state.

The sentiment of the panel was that there needs to be tax reform. They acknowledged that the public hears “tax reform” and thinks “tax increase”.

yonts 300Yonts was not optimistic about comprehensive tax reform; but, he thought “bits and pieces” could be done. Rhoads was a bit more specific on tax reform.

“There have been 13 studies since 1982 on revenue, and they are all sitting on shelves gathering dust,” said Rhoads. “We can only do so much without proper funding.”

On establishing a statewide smoking ban, there were several opinions. Waide said that he did not like the legislation previously considered.

“A business owner sitting back in his office smoking a cigarette would have been in violation of the law,” Waide said.

Rhoads took a different view.

“I think it is freedom to not be exposed to second hand smoke,” he said. “I have not heard any complaints from anyone about our (Hopkins County) smoking ban even from business owners.”

Regarding giving local government additional taxing authority, Rhoads said that it would require a constitutional amendment and local voters would have to approve. Most on the panel were in favor of putting it on the ballot.

Waide offered a cautionary note.

“When you give government more permission to take your money, they will,” he said.

Ron Sanders
SurfKY News

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14
1 DOW 17,826.30
-279.47 (-1.54%)    
2 S&P 2,081.18
-23.81 (-1.13%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,931.81
-75.98 (-1.52%)    

Most Read This Week

April 17, 2015 6917

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 13, 2015 6232

Three Juveniles, Adult Accused of Vandalizing…

by Deputy Will Coursey
April 14, 2015 5143

Several Juveniles Charged in Connection with Fight

by SurfKY News
April 18, 2015 4634

Man Charged with Attempting to Coerce Minor for…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 16, 2015 3421

Crime Stoppers Fugitive of the Week – April 16,…

by Hopkinsville – Christian County Crime Stoppers

Most Read This Month

April 02, 2015 8490

UPDATE: Madisonville Man Injured in Head-on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 6917

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks

Stories Trending Now

April 17, 2015 6917

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 18, 2015 4634

Man Charged with Attempting to Coerce Minor for…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 19, 2015 1610

ATV Ride, Cookout Raises Funds for Shanice Bean…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 18, 2015 1086

MPD Offers Advice On Prom, Underage Drinking

by Lt. Billy Poe
April 18, 2015 876

Market Commentary - April 18, 2015

by Randall L. Franklin
April 18, 2015 632

Home, Garden Show Concludes Today at Ballard…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 18, 2015 552

Keeping the Faith - 'God Smiles'

by Ronnie McBrayer
April 18, 2015 544

Happenings and Meetings - Hopkins County

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
April 18, 2015 510

TVA's Regional Energy Resource Council to Meet in…

by Tennessee Valley Authority
April 18, 2015 499

Hooked on Science - Skewer a Balloon

by Jason Lindsey