Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky Tonight’

Republican Challengers Take Aim at Sen. McConnell

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

The KET Candidate Forums began yesterday on Kentucky Tonight. For the next three Mondays at 8 p.m., we’ll present the men and women who have qualified to seek Kentucky’s seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The primary is Tuesday, May 20.

Last night, we invited Republicans Matt Bevin, Brad Copas, Shawna Sterling, and incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell to sit down with me for the program. Sen. McConnell did not appear.

Louisvillians Bevin and McConnell are the only candidates in the Repubican primary to have actively raised campaign funds for the race. Bevin has received the endorsement of a number of the state’s Tea Party organizations. He responded to a range of questions from KET viewers, and commented on the so-called Reins Act (which would allow Congress to overrule certain federal regulations), why he would have opposed EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s nomination, the national debt, and the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Copas, a native of Monroe County, and Sterling, originally from California, also gave their positions on a number of issues, including immigration reform.

Watch the full program with the Republican challengers

The Kentucky Tonight Candidate Forums continue next Monday night with the Democratic primary candidates for U.S. Senate.

On May 5, we’ll have the Democratic challengers for the 5th and 6th Congressional Districts, and on May 12 we’ll talk with the Democratic candidates for the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts.

On Monday, May 19, we’ll preview all the races with representatives from both parties, and with political analysts Jennifer Moore and Ellen Williams.

Digging into the Details of Tax Reform

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Pretty much everyone agrees the state tax system is broken. Finding agreement on specific ways to reform it is the hard part.

Monday’s edition of Kentucky Tonight explored ideas for updating the tax system in the Commonwealth. The guests were Representatives Jim Wayne (D-Louisville) and Tim Moore (R-Elizabethtown), along with Western Kentucky University economics professor Brian Strow, and Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s tax reform proposal focuses on lowering personal and business taxes, and expanding the 6 percent sales tax to certain services. His plan is based on recommendations made by a special commission he formed in 2012 to study options for tax reform. The group was charged with developing a new system for taxation that would be equitable, easy to understand and follow, generate sufficient income for government coffers, and make Kentucky competitive with other states. Brian Strow said that last goal is crucial for the economic health of the Commonwealth.

The representatives differed on how they view the prospects for passing tax reform in this session. Moore said he doesn’t see the necessary political momentum to deal with the issue, especially since no specific legislation has been proposed yet. Wayne said he hopes the governor can bring legislative leaders together to hammer out some kind of reform package that lawmakers can vote on before the session ends in mid April.

Watch the full Kentucky Tonight discussion.

Minimum Wage Increase Raises Questions

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

I opened Monday’s Kentucky Tonight discussion on increasing the minimum wage by saying viewers might be disappointed if they tuned in to learn if raising wages kills jobs and causes layoffs.

I said that because The Atlantic recently reported on its website that researchers have been arguing about that question for a century. One of the first major government studies on the matter was conducted in 1915. Reporter Jordan Weissmann says the connection between minimum wage increases and job losses is still murky. When economists study a minimum wage hike, he says they generally find it either creates a small number of job losses or leaves employment untouched.

Kentucky lawmakers are considering an increase to the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour over the course of three years. Proponents of House Bill 1 say the legislation would be a turning point for thousands of workers who are struggling to make ends meet. Opponents argue that raising the wage would kill jobs, cause some businesses to increase the cost of their products, and force others to lay off employees.

Both sides in this current debate brought their arguments – and their studies – to the table last night. Anna Baumann, a research and policy associate with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, and Bonifacio Aleman, executive director of Kentucky Jobs with Justice, support the proposal. Stacy Roof, president and CEO of the Kentucky Restaurant Association, and Tod Griffin, president of the Kentucky Retail Federation, oppose HB 1.

Here’s a sample of our conversation.

Click here to watch the full Kentucky Tonight discussion about the minimum wage.

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