by Legate Damar
Northern Kentucky residents should be proud of themselves. Despite a monumental push for tolling to fund a new Brent Spence Bridge, we were able to come together and fight back against the special interests (Time to Stand Against Tolling for Funding a New Brent Spence Bridge…Again, 2014). Thank you for all of your messages and phone calls to Frankfort in order to stop a fleecing of the NKY commuter for a big business agenda, which includes the NKY Chamber of Commerce, the Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition, and the NKY CEO Roundtable (Do You Do Business with Tolling Supporters?, 2012, NKY CEOS Endorse Tolls, Public-Private Partnerships A Legislators Remain Unconvinced, 2014).
by Legate Damar
Senator Mitch McConnell (R) is the senior U.S. Senator from Kentucky in his fifth term and Senate Minority Leader of the Senate since January 3rd, 2007. He is currently running against Matt Bevin in the Republican primary which will be held on May 20th, 2014.
According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) McConnell is one of two members of Congress from Kentucky named to CREW’s Most Corrupt report in 2013. A secret recording of one of Sen. McConnell’s campaign meetings suggests Sen. McConnell may have illegally used his official staff and resources to conduct campaign activities. The recording indicated Sen. McConnell’s then-chief of staff and several legislative assistants helped compile opposition research on some of the senator’s potential campaign opponents while on the taxpayer’s clock (Ashley Judd). CREW asked the FBI and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to investigate whether Sen. McConnell broke federal law or Senate rules, which prohibit congressional staff from engaging in campaign activity on official time or using official resources. It is worthy to mention that McConnell was previously named to CREW’s Most Corrupt report in 2007, 2008, and 2009.
by Legate Damar
The Federal Highway Trust Fund
The U.S. Interstate Highway System was created by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. The Highway Trust Fund was created by the Highway Revenue Act of 1956 and provides the revenue for the interstate highway system and other federal-aid highway programs. The motor fuel tax (currently 18.3 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24.3 cents per gallon on diesel fuel) is the most well-known tax. Other products taxed are special fuel, gasohol, ethanol/methanol, truck tires, truck sales, and truck use. The 1956 act set an expiration date of 1972, which has been extended several times by later legislation (Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956: Creating the Interstate System).
The Federal Highway Trust Fund is going Broke
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected in January 2012 that the fund’s Highway Account will become insolvent during 2013, and the Mass Transit Account insolvent in 2014. At the end of fiscal year 2014, the current federal highway bill will expire. Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Representative Bill Shuster (R-PA) announced recently that he wants a new highway bill on the House floor by August of this year.
What’s Wrong with the Current System?
Not surprisingly when the federal government involves itself in managing a program it inevitably ends up broken. Let’s examine a few problems with the current Federal Highway Trust Fund.
by Kenton Tea
The Tea meetings attract candidates as a good place to introduce themselves and get a pulse of the community. A recent visit by Kenton County Attorney Stacy Tapke prompted the following response. In a nutshell Kenton County needs a change.
Kenton County Attorney candidate Stacy Tapke previously spoke in front of the Tea Party and while she played up parts of her resume, she conveniently failed to mention her close connections with the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission (NKAPC), an unelected board that sets tax rates with no accountability to Kenton County taxpayers.
Tapke is the handpicked successor to her retiring boss, Gary Edmondson. Tapke worked for Edmondson and then was immediately hired on by Edmondson in the County Attorney’s Office after graduating from law school in 2004. She is also an associate in his private law firm.
by Legate Damar
Senator McConnell’s gaffes continue to haunt him as he is locked in mortal combat with Matt Bevin in the Republican primary for the KY U.S. Senate seat (Observers: McConnell gaffes show campaign rust, 2014). Particularly amusing was the ad that first mistakenly featured Duke University basketball players celebrating a championship instead of University of Kentucky players, and then replacing it with one that ran afoul of NCAA rules. I guess Mitch and his acolytes aren’t University of Kentucky fans.
The Beattyville Enterprise recently ran a story about McConnell’s response to the question as to what he would do to bring jobs to Lee County, where the unemployment rate is 12.8 percent.
“That is not my job. It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet,” McConnell said.
Although McConnell alleged his response was taken out of context, Beattyville Enterprise Editor Edmund Shelby said he stands by his story (McConnell: Jobs Comment Taken out of Context, 2014). I guess Lee County didn’t make any political contributions to his campaign.