Economy

MSHA

The U.S. Senate voted along party lines Wednesday, 52 to 46, to narrowly confirm President Trump’s  nominee to lead the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA. The country’s top mine safety position has been vacant since January as coal mining fatalities have risen to a two-year high. Trump’s choice to fill the post is facing opposition from congressional Democrats and safety advocates. 


Becca Schimmel

A southern Kentucky judge said the cost of incarceration is changing the way Kentucky deals with drug offenders.

Warren Circuit Court Judge Steve Wilson said he’s seen a shift in how Kentucky’s legislators view incarceration for drug crimes. He said legislators are increasingly talking to him and other judges about alternatives to jail. He said the cost of keeping people behind bars has a lot to do with that shifting mindset.

WKU Public Radio

The head of the company that is planning to build a $1.3 billion aluminum plant in eastern Kentucky claims the state’s new right-to-work law will help it undercut competitors.

Braidy Industries CEO Craig Bouchard said one of the company’s advantages is that it won’t require workers to join a union — unlike some other competitors in the aluminum business.

“We don’t have any work rules, we don’t have anybody telling us how to run the shop,”  Bouchard said at an event in Louisville Thursday. “We can do what is best for our company, our employees, our shareholders and our community and we know how to do it.”

Striking Migrant Farm Workers Win Settlement

Nov 8, 2017
Elizabeth Sanders

After about three weeks on strike, a group of migrant workers employed at a tobacco farm in Gerrard County, Kentucky have reached a settlement with the farm’s owner.

The workers came from Mexico under the H2A visa program, which allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. for temporary or seasonal farm work. The Department of Labor program also sets a minimum wage for the workers and requires the employer to provide for costs associated with the work, such as work supplies and travel to and from the farm.

Mary Meehan

When a Madison County jail task force examined overcrowding in their jails, they found that about 80 percent of the inmates were there on drug related charges. This led the county to look at how a public-private partnerships could help fund a new substance abuse treatment center

Judge Executive Reagan Taylor said the county’s jail is overcrowded and building a new one would cost about $50 million. He said a new jail would need to have 800 beds and it would probably be full or overcrowded in about ten years. Taylor said he didn’t want to use taxpayer dollars to build a new jail without looking at what they could do to reduce recidivism.


Rhonda J Miller

A group of education officials representing districts across the country will be touring a Warren County elementary school Friday to get a close-up look at an energy-saving material used in construction. They’re visiting to learn more about the construction of net zero schools, or schools that produce enough energy on site to cover their needs.

Jennings Creek Elementary will be a net zero ready school, meaning it’s built in a way that allows it to eliminate the cost of energy. The school is one of a many in Kentucky using insulated concrete forms, or ICF, to reduce energy costs. Warren County is home to the nation’s first net zero school--Richardsville Elementary, which opened in 2010.

Lisa Autry

For some Kentuckians, Wal-Mart is now offering a game changer when it comes to grocery shopping. 

The company launched its online grocery sales and pickup service at its two Bowling Green stores on Wednesday.

Consumers can select their items online, drive to the store, and have personal shoppers load their groceries without ever leaving their vehicle.  

Andrew Myers is the assistant manager of e-commerce at Wal-Mart's Morgantown Road location.  He says the pickup service is a sign of the times as more shoppers seek convenience.

Elizabeth Sanders

Workers on a tobacco farm in Garrard County, Kentucky, are entering the third week of a strike over claims that they have not received the pay guaranteed by a federal work visa program. The strike is part of a movement across the South and Midwest to organize migrant laborers who enter the country legally to do seasonal work.

The farmers chanted in Spanish as they marched to deliver a letter to the farm owner.

“Que queremos? Justicia!”


The Tax Foundation Business Tax Climate Index

A new report from the Tax Foundation ranks Kentucky’s Business tax climate 33rd in the nation. The foundation hopes the report will serve as a guide while both the state and federal governments consider tax reform.

The Business Tax Climate Index examines how competitive a state’s tax code is, and how well it encourages businesses to locate in that state.

“When we look at Kentucky, the reason the state ranks a little below average on our index, isn’t, say, the corporate income tax rate. It is things like the fact that Kentucky has an inventory tax," said Jared Walczak, lead author of the report.

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is urging U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Bowling Green to support passage of the federal budget.

In a letter to Sen. Paul, the Chamber advocated lowering the corporate tax rate and simplifying the tax code. Spokesperson Kate Shanks said they wanted to make it clear that the business community supports making these steps toward tax reform, and the chamber is hoping the Bowling Green Republican will join them in those efforts.

Becca Schimmel

Thelma Daulton goes to the salon to get her hair done at the same time every Friday. She gets picked up at her house and greeted by one of many familiar faces from the Rural Transit Enterprises, Coordinated, or RTEC.

Daulton is 95 years old and has been riding the public transit system in Somerset, Kentucky, for about 15 years. Daulton said her daughter would like for her to move closer to Bowling Green, but Daulton likes her community and has no intention of leaving.


Governor Matt Bevin has been outspoken about overhauling Kentucky’s tax system. Bevin said he wants to get rid of the inventory tax, which is placed on a company’s inventory that is held in the state. That tax is used to fund local school districts, and some worry that eliminating the inventory tax will have a negative impact on education. Little detail has been released about what would replace that revenue.


The U.S. economy shed 33,000 jobs in September, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while unemployment fell to 4.2 percent.

The September payrolls drop broke a nearly seven-year streak of continuous job gains, but economists caution that the drop is likely representing the short-term consequences of bad weather, not a long-term shift in the job market.

Before this report, the economy had added an average of about 175,000 jobs per month; the unemployment rate has been at 4.3 or 4.4 percent since April.

Becca Schimmel

A bipartisan Congressional group from the Ohio Valley and beyond introduced a new bill to save pensions for retired union coal miners throughout the region.

The American Miners Pension Act, or AMP, would secure pensions for about 43,000 miners in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia whose retirement benefits have been undermined by the decline of the coal industry.

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said Congress acted to protect miners’ health benefits last year but pensions got kicked down the road.


Becca Schimmel

A family-owned German manufacturer is beginning operations at its facility in Bowling Green. Bilstein Cold Rolled Steel expects to employ about 110 people at its plant.

The company creates thin pieces of steel for a variety of industries. Construction on the Warren County plant began in 2015. CEO Mark Loik said about 85 percent of their material will be sourced domestically, including some suppliers in Kentucky. He says Bilstein looked at about four states but decided to locate in Bowling Green because it’s a growing community and the quality of the infrastructure.

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