Vehicle exports from Kentucky were up 43 percent through the first nine months of the year, setting a state record.
Governor Steve Beshear said the state exported more than $3 billion worth of vehicles between January and September and will likely top $4 billion by year's end. That, he said, translates into more jobs and a stronger economy for Kentucky.
The previous record for vehicle exports was $2.7 billion set last year.
Beshear said a significant part of the growth is the result of exports to Saudi Arabia, which now is the second largest buyer of Kentucky-made automobiles.
Canada remains the top consumer of vehicles produced in Kentucky.
Exports of all Kentucky products also are on a record pace, having reached $18.4 billion as of September.
The Kentucky Transpark in Warren County is gaining another tenant.
Horizon Steel will co-occupy a plant with the Bilstein Group. Bilstein, a German auto supplier, announced in October it would open its U.S. headquarters in the Transpark. Horizon will become Bilstein’s exclusive processor of steel products. Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson made the announcement in Bowling Green Tuesday.
“This community is part of the overall efforts by Governor Beshear and myself as we work toward trying to create, through the difficult financial times that we’re all living through, as economically vibrant a Commonwealth as we possibly can,” said Abramson. “Attracting companies like Horizon Steel is right in line, right in the sweet spot of where we want to be in terms of the future of Kentucky.”
Bilstein previously announced it would create 90 jobs while Horizon plans to add 30 positions.
A national publication has named the 2014 Corvette Stingray as Automobile of the Year. In an announcement Saturday in Michigan, the car was recognized for its “newfound sophistication and heart-pounding performance.”
The Stingray, produced at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, is the first new version of the iconic sports car in nine years.
Jean Jennings is President and Editor-in-Chief of Automobile Magazine. She told WKU Public Radio that given General Motors’ near collapse, the car is a “stunning achievement.”
“In the darkest times, the engineers and designers never let off the gas, never let a detail slide by as good enough," remarked Jennings.
Another GM vehicle, the Cadillac CTS, came in second place among contenders for Automobile of the Year.
Kentucky continues to rank in the middle-of-the-pack when it comes to having a business-friendly tax climate. The 2014 study, released Wednesday by the non-partisan Tax Foundation in Washington takes into account the corporate tax rate, individual income tax, sales tax, unemployment insurance tax and property tax rate.
Kentucky’s ranking dropped from 24th in the nation last year to 27th this year. The study finds Kentucky’s tax code didn’t change that much, but the ranking reflects changes in states with similar numbers.
Meantime, Indiana ranked 10th in the nation for best business tax climate – earning high marks for low property taxes. Tennessee ranked 15th thanks in part of a low individual income tax.
A German company plans to invest $120 million dollars to bring a production plant to Bowling Green.
The Bilstein Group says the plant will bring 90 new, full-time jobs to the area. Governor Steve Beshear was on hand for the announcement Wednesday at Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce headquarters. Beshear, who just returned from a trip to Europe said he met with Bilstein executives on a previous trip.
The company makes cold-rolled strip steel products for the auto industry. It will be the Bilstein Group’s second facility in North America.
“At the end of a long and thorough decision making process," said Bilstein CEO Marc Oehler. "I can say we are absolutely certain that Bowling Green is the perfect spot for our new [facility] being both sufficiently close to our customers and suppliers as well as within reach from Europe and any place in North America.”
Enrollment has just begun and there are already some scams related to the Affordable Care Act.
Reanna Smith-Hamblin with the Better Business Bureau of Kentucky and Indiana says scammers love to prey on confusion over such complex things as the health care law, so her advice is to never give personal information to unsolicited callers.
“This people are after your personal, your identity, so be very careful about anyone that contacts you on the Affordable Care Act," advises Smith-Hamblin.
She adds that you can't even trust caller ID because of spoofing devices that make it look like scammers are calling from a particular place, when in fact, they are not.
A federal judge in Texas has ruled against Churchill Down Incorporated in a challenge over online gambling laws.
The Louisville-based company was hoping the judge would throw out a Texas law that bans internet gambling offered by the racetrack’s website.
The Courier-Journal reports the Texas Racing Commission has recently started to enforce a law requiring that all gambling on horse racing be done in person at the racetrack. The law was later revised by Texas authorities to explicitly outlaw online wagering.
Churchill claimed the “in person” part of the law was a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause. But the Texas judge rejected that argument, saying that Churchill Downs and other racetracks can reach gamblers in the Lonestar State through simulcasting—something that is permitted under Texas law.
Churchill started Twinspires.com in 2007 in order to take bets online and over the phone.
A new hotel is being called a bridge that will bring WKU and downtown Bowling Green closer together.
City and university leaders Tuesday announced that a 108-room Hyatt Place hotel will be built adjacent to the WKU Augustein Alumni Center. Construction on the four-story building will start this fall, with a scheduled opening in fall of 2014.
WKU President Gary Ransdell described the effort as a "cornerstone" that will help unite the school's campus and the city's downtown.
"This is what begins to marry Western Kentucky University--our physical campus--with downtown Bowling Green. This project is going to be the bridge which begins to bring these two very important variables in our community together."
The hotel will be owned by Dellisart Wellspring, LLC, the same group behind the Staybridge Suites Hotel in Bowling Green at the intersection of Nashville Road and Campbell Lane.