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Sorry its been a while, but I have had to take some time off to deal with some personel issues. One of the people I have had the pleasure of meeting in my time away from commenting on politics. One such person Harvey Finkelstein is an extaordinary CPA and a really nice guy as well. His in depth knowledge on local Maryland politics and the effect they may have on taxes is appreciated. Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2010 at KY Kurmudgeon
I apologize for the delay in posting today's column. Blame it on an end-of-session brain lock, which is appropriate because the column contains a mathematical error that I'll also blame on an end-of-session brain lock that led me to mix apples and oranges. Obviously, 36 hours from 7 a.m. Tuesday doesn't take you to to 1 a.m. Thursday. It takes you to 7 p.m. Wednesday. I confused the 36 hours normally cited for printing the budget with a charted time line put out by the Legislative Research Commission early in the week that outlined the 42 hours it would take to complete the whole process (including the printing) of getting a budget enacted. The last time line on that chart said a budget agreement reached at midnight Monday would mean the process could be completed at 6 p.m. Wednesday. When negotiations continued to 7 a.m. Tuesday, I added seven hours to the 6 p.m. time and arrived at the possibility that completion of the process could be pushed to 1 a.m. Thursday. It was the right time based on the full 42-hour process, but not on a 36-hour one. My bad. But it will all be moot in a few hours anyway. They'll either make the midnight deadline or they won't. FRANKFORT — When House and Senate leaders announced that budget conference committee meetings would be open to the public, no one really believed the down-and-dirty part of the negotiations would take place in front of the TV cameras and the outsiders granted access to the meetings. It never happens that way. Even when the charade of an open conference committee plays out to the end of the process in the first-floor meeting rooms of the Capitol Annex, the real head-banging and arm-wrestling takes place upstairs in legislative leaders’ offices,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2010 at KY Kurmudgeon
1. A couple of comments posted while I was on vacation raised the question of whether I would have anything to say about recently released report on a possible conflict of interest in the handling of the Kentucky Central Life Insurance Co. liquidation. The answer is yes, I do have something to say. Former Jefferson Circuit Judge Richard Revell, who reviewed the report when it was prepared in 1995, says criticism of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Beshear on this issue "has absolutely no merit." Since Revell is a Republican who supports Gov. Ernie Fletcher's re-election and has contributed to his campaign, I consider his defense of the work Beshear and the Stites & Harbison law firm did on the Kentucky Central case to be particularly compelling. 2. I found it interesting that Robbie Rudolph, Fletcher's running mate in the gubernatorial race, had not contributed to the campaign prior to the filing of the finance report last week. I wonder if he was just waiting until after these reports were filed to decide how much of his personal wealth to put into the campaign. 3. Back in the days when gubernatorial elections tended to be settled in the Democratic primary, a fall race that prompted as little buzz as this one is producing would have been understandable. When I started thinking about how little excitement this campaign is generating, I was tempted to compare it to former Gov. Paul Patton's sleepwalk to re-election against the token candidacy of Peppy Martin in 1999. But I decided that would be unfair to Peppy. After all, she did liven things up with her prom dress. Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2010 at KY Kurmudgeon
1. Today's opinion from the Legislative Ethics Commission reversing a 1995 opinion represents a welcome return to reason in regard to legislators soliciting lobbyists for political contributions. While the ethics law passed in 1993 clearly prohibits lawmakers from asking lobbyists to contribute to their own political campaigns, the 1995 opinion said they were free to ask lobbyists to contribute to political parties. That interpretation of the law made no sense when it was issued, and it made even less sense after the commission said in 2005 that legislators could not hit up lobbyists on behalf of legislative caucus campaign committees. Why should lawmakers be able to do something to help their parties that they can't do to help their own campaigns or their caucus committees? It's good to see the ethics panel correct the mistake made in 1995. 2. Gov. Ernie Fletcher's compromise proposal on medical malpractice lawsuits sounds a whole lot like the alternative legislative Democrats have been offering in recent years to Senate Republicans' proposed constitutional amendment that would allow limits on damage awards in such suits. Fletcher has supported caps on damages in the past. While I must say this flip-flop puts Fletcher on the right side (the victims' side) of this issue, it's still a flip-flop. 3. Latest SurveyUSA numbers have Fletcher trailing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Beshear by 20 percentage points. If this were a game from the early days of Monday Night Football, Don Meredith might be getting ready to sing us a song. 4. Lexington's leaders appear to have come down with a case of arena envy now that Louisville is getting a big new facility downtown. Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2010 at KY Kurmudgeon
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Sep 28, 2010