Governor Prepares to Unveil His Budget Plan

Monday, January 25th, 2016

One of the most anticipated statewide addresses by a governor in recent memory is a little more than 24 hours away.

In an speech to be carried live on KET and Tuesday night, Gov. Matt Bevin will deliver remarks that are part state of the commonwealth and part state budget unveiling.

No one except staff and close advisers know exactly what the new governor might say, which has created an expectation of hope and trepidation in many observers. In an address to an overflow crowd at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s annual Chamber Day festivities earlier this month, Bevin said the budget “will not be full of everything that people would like to see, but it will be realistic and help us get our house in order.”

I asked Chamber President Dave Adkisson and Jason Bailey, the executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, for their thoughts on the state budget, including possible solutions to the public pension deficits.

KET’s coverage of Gov. Bevin’s budget address airs tomorrow night at 7 pm.

A Wild Ride on the Stock Market

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

With the stock market plunging hundreds of points in the past few days, what’s an investor to do?

Worry? Check the market numbers on your computer or phone every few minutes? Second guess the decisions you made on your personal or business investments?

The wild market swings raise many questions, not the least of which is could another 2008-style recession be staring us in the face?

The Wall Street Journal wrote Tuesday that “stock markets have done swift work so far this year to dash investor hopes for an improvement over 2015, which delivered some of the worst annual losses since 2008.”

One global expert was quoted as saying, “We are in an environment where fear feeds on fear.”

When will global concerns and the market begin to show signs of improvement?

For that and other questions, I turned to Ken Troske, the William B. Sturgill Professor of Economics and Senior Associate Dean at the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky.

A Preview of Monday’s Prevailing Wage Discussion

Friday, January 15th, 2016

On Monday’s edition of Kentucky Tonight, we’ll discuss union membership and the prevailing wage issue. Senate Bill 9, sponsored by Sen. Wil Schroder (R-Wilder), would lift prevailing wage requirements on public school and university construction projects. Senate Republicans contend the law forces higher costs on schools that already have tight budgets, and waste taxpayer dollars.

Democratic opponents of the measure say it would reduce pay and benefits for skilled laborers, and result in no real savings for the commonwealth.

Here’s a sampling of Thursday’s debate on the measure.

The measure passed the Senate on a party-line, 26-11 vote yesterday. The bill now goes to the Democratically controlled House, where similar proposals have died in recent years.

Monday night, we’ll explore the merits of prevailing wage and the state of union membership in the commonwealth with Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and CEO of the Dave Adkisson; Anna Baumann, research and policy associate at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy; Julia Crigler, state director of Americans for Prosperity; and Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan. The program begins at 8 p.m. on KET, and you can join the conversation with your comments and questions to, or by tweeting @BillKET.

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