Sometimes I think we should change the name of the State of Kentucky to the State of Denial. This thought usually comes when I hear someone talking about Top 20 Universities, better public education, stopping the spread of meth labs, increasing the minimum wage or any number of other topics state government deals with on a regular basis.
The problem is simple.
Everyone hates to pay taxes, EVERYONE….
That’s why idiots like Billy Harper, appeal to other idiots with a no new tax pledge. It appeals to the anti-government bias many people share. It’s a simple, easy to understand wrong answer to complicated question.
However, it’s not the only simple, easy to understand wrong answer out there. We currently live with one called the Lottery. Wallace “Wally the Weasel” Wilkerson rode that one into the Governor’s mansion. Ask people if they would deal with a local thug to play the numbers game and they would cringe, but let them buy a state lottery ticket at the grocery store, that’s a different thing.
Well not really, it’s still a tax on people that can’t do math. The only difference is whether you pay some management firm in Atlanta or crime boss in Cleveland. The lottery was a bad idea then and a bad idea now.
The same is true of casino gambling. Steve Beshear has adopted the idea whole heartedly. I guess he remembers when Wally beat him the last time he ran for governor. You have give Steve credit for remembering that far back, however it would have been nice if he had spent then years coming up with a good idea.
Until we have comprehensive tax reform none of the problems this state faces will have a snow balls chance in hell of being addressed. A very wise man once suggested the way to solve the states money problems was to erect a fence around the entire state, then sell admission to the 19th century.
Now given the gutless nature of the legislature, true tax reform is a real problem in this state.
The one candidate that actually appears to be thinking about taxes and how to fund the needs of government is Jonathan Miller.
From the Henderson Kentucky Gleaner:
"I think that cities and counties should have as many different options as they want," he (Miller) said in an interview at The Gleaner office. "That would be up to Henderson and Henderson County if they want to put that on the ballot and allow people to vote on it, but I think they need to have as much flexibility as possible.
"There might need to be some constitutional changes, but in this climate, where we're putting so much pressure on local and county governments to pay for services, we need to let them have the flexibility."
Think about this:
Cincinnati, Nashville, Charlotte, Memphis, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Jacksonville all have city or county sales taxes in addition to state sales taxes. In Northern KY people pay the Cincinnati city tax when they shop there, but are not allowed to charge it to Ohioans at the Florence Mall.
South Central Kentuckians have to pay the Nashville city tax when they shop there, but are not allowed to charge it when people visit the Corvette Museum.
I’m glad at least one candidate is thinking about how to actually solve the problems rather than revisiting old elections.