On the day he’s publicly exposed as a tax deadbeat, how much nerve does it take for a lawmaker to file a bill requiring poor people to be drug tested?
But, in his short time in the legislature, Rep. C. Wesley Morgan, R-Richmond, has usually displayed more nerve than judgment. You may recall that in his first five days as a lawmaker, Morgan filed six — count ’em, six — bills benefiting liquor store owners. He is a liquor-store owner.
He’s also a tax-avoider extraordinaire or, you could say, a scofflaw.
Morgan offered up various explanations (always blaming others) for how he paid $525,000 for a houseboat in 2004 then never filed any of the required records that would have triggered a property-tax bill.
That saved him thousands of dollars that should have gone to public schools and public services in Pulaski, Wayne and Russell counties, where he says the boat was moored. The Russell County property valuation administrator told reporter Bill Estep that Morgan could owe as much as $75,000. Morgan got around to filing for a title on the boat July 17 — 13 years after he bought it.
Estep recounted Morgan’s lame explanations in an article posted Aug. 18.
That same day Morgan prefiled a bill for the 2018 session that would require drug testing of adults seeking or receiving public assistance or food stamps.
Such laws are a proven waste of money. Arizona, the first state to impose a drug-testing requirement, screened 87,000 people, and just one tested positive for drug use. North Carolina tested 7,600 applicants for public assistance over five months in 2015, and 21 or 0.3 percent tested positive.
Kentucky has much better uses for the millions of dollars that would be wasted should Morgan’s bill become law.
Maybe it’s just coincidence that he filed a bill to purge his idea of miscreants from welfare rolls the day that news broke of his civic lapse. Maybe he was trying to change the subject.
In any case, what stands out is the shameless hypocrisy of a man who, by not paying taxes that he owed, has been leaching off public schools and local governments for years.