Trump Budget Cuts Would Hit Trump Country Hardest

20 minutes ago
Robert McGraw/WOUB

The true costs of the deep cuts in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would fall disproportionately on many of the poor and working class people in the Ohio Valley region who helped to elect him, according to lawmakers and policy analysts.

Deep cuts to subsidized health care, food aid, disability assistance, and addiction treatment services would have the biggest effect in parts of Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia with some of the nation’s greatest needs for these safety net programs.

Additionally, some federal agencies supporting new economic development in the communities hardest hit by the coal industry’s downturn would be sharply reduced or eliminated under the White House budget plan.


Office of Ky Governor

Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says his new book is about how to make government work again.

Beshear, a Democrat,  says government is dysfunctional on the national level but could be different. He decided to work for the people by putting "people over politics," he said.

That's the name of Beshear's 361-page book — "People Over Politics" — and it's scheduled for release Friday.

He writes that unnamed politicians have learned how religion influences people and have used it for political control.

Business Wire

A group proposing a natural gas plant in Henderson County is continuing to seek contracts needed to secure financial backing to build the facility.

HenderSun Energy LLC owns 2,000 acres in Henderson County and the proposed power generation plant would be on 40 of those acres.

Owensboro Municipal Utilities had considered signing a 10-year contract to buy electricity from the proposed plant, but decided against it earlier this month. OMU has decided to shut down its aging Elmer Smith plant with its two coal-fired generating units. One unit will be shut down by 2019 and the second by 2023. That will mark the end of coal-fired power in Owensboro after 117 years. The city is continuing to consider options for its future power needs.

Mike McInnis is managing director of HenderSun Energy. He said HenderSun Energy had submitted its first proposal to Owensboro, and has submitted its second proposal to the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency. 

WFPL

The state is closing a juvenile detention center where a 16-year-old girl died last year.

Gynnya McMillen's name was not mentioned in a news release from the Department of Juvenile Justice announcing the closure of Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center in Hardin County. The agency said the move was part of an effort to consolidate operations and follows an overhaul of the juvenile justice system.

McMillen was found dead inside her cell early last year, and activists later called for the facility to close.

Wikimedia Commons

A board that was ostensibly responsible for reviewing coal miners’ training and reviewing all proposed coal mine safety regulations will hold its last meeting next week.

The Kentucky Mining Board consisted of eight members — three from labor, three representing coal industry management, one citizen and one state regulator. In pushing for the board to be abolished, the state Energy and Environment Cabinet said its responsibilities were duplicated, and would be distributed among other agencies and commissions. But mine safety advocates worry the move will end up harming the state’s approximately 6,000 remaining coal miners.

The Kentucky Mining Board has been in existence for decades, but was reorganized by Gov. Paul Patton in 2001. It was abolished by a bill that passed the legislature earlier this year, with little discussion or fanfare. The bill flew under the radar — so much so that board members weren’t aware the board had been dismantled until receiving a letter last week.

A Daviess County lawmaker isn’t surprised by a consultant’s report released this week that shows how Kentucky’s pension systems became the worst funded in the nation. 

A consultant’s report released this week shows the systems combined have seen nearly $7 billion in negative cash flow since 2005, as benefits paid to retirees greatly exceeded appropriated funding. 

State Senator Joe Bowen of Owensboro co-chairs the Public Pension Oversight Board.  He says there are a number of reasons why the retirement plans got into the current crisis. 

For one, the state has been basing contributions to pension plans on a level percent of payroll rather than a level dollar.

"We funded based on an anticipation of payroll growth that never happened," Bowen told WKU Public Radio.  "Instead of just a level dollar funding mechanism, we used a percent of payroll, and the payroll never happened, so we kept getting further and further behind."

Vanderbilt University

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell says a Kentucky judge nominated for the appeals court will get a vote in the Senate.

McConnell said the Senate will vote on the confirmation of U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar on Thursday. Republican President Donald Trump nominated Thapar to a vacancy on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Thapar was the U.S. attorney for eastern Kentucky before former President George W. Bush appointed him to the District Court in 2008. The White House says Thapar was the first federal judge of South Asian descent.

Becca Schimmel

Tuesday marked the end of the first year at Kentucky’s first stand-alone international high school, located in Bowling Green, a refugee resettlement area.

Shoes squeaked and laughter filled the small international high school, where the student body speaks about 30 different languages.

 

What used to be the annex of Warren Central High School is now home to Gateway to Educational Opportunities, or Geo International. The school serves 180 Warren County high school students from 24 different countries.

 


President Trump's proposed budget, released Tuesday, calls for a major reworking of the nation's social safety net for low-income Americans. It would impose more stringent work requirements and limits on those receiving aid, including disability and food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. It would also give states more control of, and responsibility for, such spending.

Anti-poverty advocates have vowed to fight the budget plan, which requires congressional approval to go into effect.

Kentucky Needs $700 Million More Per Year for Pension Debt

May 23, 2017
J. Tyler Franklin

Independent consultants say Kentucky taxpayers need to spend an extra $700 million each year to keep their troubled public pension systems afloat.

That's on top of the nearly $2 billion taxpayers are scheduled to spend on all of the state's retirement systems in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

State lawmakers were briefed on the report Monday. It's the second of three commissioned studies of the state's pension system. The final report will detail recommendations about how the state can raise the necessary funds.

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LRS LIVE Replay: Kelsey Waldon & The Dead Broke Barons

Americana artist Kelsey Waldon and Franklin's own Dead Broke Barons were the featured artists on April 20th for Lost River Sessions LIVE! at the Capitol Arts Center in downtown Bowling Green. Both bands have appeared on the TV version of Lost River Sessions, but the live concert gave the audience a chance to see these bands in person.

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