Friday, March 23, 2012

Kentucky budget negotiators need Jed Clampett

On the old Beverly Hillbillies television program, when Jed Clampett's nephew Jethro would say or do something particularly stupid, an exasperated Jed would say "One of these days I gotta have a long talk with that boy." Too bad Jed isn't around to talk sense into Kentucky House Budget Chairman Rick Rand.

Kentucky's original budget document written by Gov. Beshear included nearly a billion dollars in new debt spelled out in the bill. The House reduced that debt by about a half and the Senate cut the amount of new debt by half again.

As Rep. Rand was explaining that he didn't want to agree to the Senate's changes, Rep. Stan Lee (R-Lexington) rose to ask a question on the bill.

"According to the newspaper, the Senate cut spending and cut the debt in its bill," Rep. Lee said. "If it's in the paper you know you can believe it. Is what the newspaper reported today correct about the Senate cutting spending and cutting the debt?"

Rand didn't take the bait, but he didn't answer the question accurately, either.

"We cut the debt by half when that bill passed the House," Rep. Rand said.

The answer he was looking for was "No."

We need to reduce spending and reduce Kentucky's debt, but overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate still count on most people not understanding the difference between a real cut and a cut in projected or requested growth. Besides that, the Senate did nothing to address the pension mess or the Governor's wish to implement ObamaCare administratively which the budget bill would allow him to do.