Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off on public money for private schools and other legislative topics

Bevin explains his support for controversial scholarship tax break bill

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said Tuesday, March 5, 2019, that he would sign into law a controversial scholarship tax credit bill if it hits his desk.
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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said Tuesday, March 5, 2019, that he would sign into law a controversial scholarship tax credit bill if it hits his desk.

Keep public funds with public schools

Pastors for Kentucky Children is a grassroots movement of pastors and lay people that want to support and encourage our local public schools. Our teachers, administrators and staff are on the front lines caring for our children and we are praying that state legislators will give them all the resources they need to fulfill this calling. We implore the General Assembly to vote down tax credit scholarships, or any legislation that funnels money away from public schools. Our children deserve the highest-quality free public education and deserve to have the best faculty, facilities and future our state has to offer.

We are opposed to tax credit scholarships because they violate the separation of church and state. As clergy, we do not want government money or interference in our religious schools. Taxpayers, in turn, do not want their money going to pay for these religious education alternatives. Public money must stay with public schools. Private schools have flourished for decades without public money; they will continue to do so.

We stand in support of our public educators and our children. We are asking our legislators to fully fund public education and vote no on scholarship tax credits.

Rev. Sharon Felton Pastors for Kentucky Children, Georgetown

HB3 draconian

We voice our strong opposition to Kentucky House Bill 3. This bill would erect costly and complex barriers that take away vital food, healthcare and financial assistance from children and families in Kentucky. Scores of studies have found that participation in these programs improves success for children in school and has lasting benefits into adulthood – and that barriers to participation do not increase economic well-being. By removing these supports from Kentuckians, HB3 would hold back our commonwealth.

The bill includes provisions of questionable legality, and would also be extremely expensive for our state – adding many layers of administrative oversight and complicated reporting requirements that will cause many Kentuckians to lose assistance.

Specifically, HB3 would cut off and reduce assistance for thousands of very poor Kentucky children; require ineffective “workfare” for parents receiving food assistance; codify major barriers to Medicaid coverage; require expensive new surveillance with SNAP and TANF photo ID cards; and make public benefits contingent on costly, wasteful drug testing.

HB3 will leave many thousands of Kentucky children and families hungry, without healthcare, and lacking supports that just barely allow them to scrape by. This harmful, costly, ineffective and legally dubious proposal must be rejected by the General Assembly.

Signed by coalition of 45 state and area social-service and advocacy groups

Consolidate pension systems

If the state legislator pension system is 98 percent funded (indicating that all the required money was put in, and the management of these funds is appropriate), can the legislators please explain why they did not protect the workers in the same way they are protecting themselves?

Former state Rep. Harry Moberly Jr.’s statement about the 2005 law sweetening legislative pensions (“These part-time Kentucky legislators can collect public pensions of $50,000 or more”, Feb. 7, Herald-Leader), that most legislators did not understand it and that he did not know what was in it and still voted for it, indicates that he did not exercise due diligence. The fact that he was a university administrator indicates he is not dumb, but likely was aware of the benefit the bill would bring to his retirement.

Why are there so many retirement systems in the state? Why not consolidate? Then the legislators would be subject to the same treatment as all state workers. I am not a state worker or retiree, and thus have no conflict of interest.

Carole Cole, Nicholasville