Tax the wealthy
Gov. Matt Bevin has been toying with this analogy of a united familial Kentucky, but his budget does not match his rhetoric.
The breadwinner doesn’t stash her earnings for herself, but rather spreads the wealth among the family. She looks after her own, makes sure everyone has food and health care.
Bevin’s budget doesn’t remind me of a family. It reminds me of “scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” contribute to my campaign and I’ll contribute to your coffers. Our government is supposed to represent all its citizens and not just its wealthiest.
We espouse Christian values as if it were a tourist attraction (and soon it may be), but what happens when it’s time to make the tough choices so we can care for Kentucky’s most vulnerable?
Because of loopholes, exemptions and tax cuts, the wealthiest citizens and businesses pay a considerably smaller percentage of their incomes than middle-class Kentuckians. I hope Bevin, his cabinet and our legislators do the right thing by stopping the cuts and increasing taxes on the wealthiest 5 percent.
Let’s just hope that Bevin remembers his favorite motto, “United we stand, divided we fall,” when it’s time to ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share.
Keep Kynect, it works
Gov. Matt Bevin promises to engage stakeholders in health-system transformation.
My stakeholder experience: I work for a nonprofit, educating consumers. When Kynect began, I become a “kynector.” I enroll people in coverage. My job is not government-funded. My agency decided to offer a service, helping people get covered.
With Kynect, I know who to call. I make suggestions to improve shopping screens and navigation. I know they are considered. When I come across an error, I call the Lexington call center or email the cabinet and it is fixed.
Kynect worked from the start. I have also seen Kynect improve monumentally, with input from kynectors, insurance agents and more. Shopping screens are easier to navigate. Prices are displayed more clearly. Eligibility for premium plans and Medicaid is determined more accurately. (Medicaid applications are built into Kynect, so consumers have one place to apply.)
If we close Kynect, we will not enjoy the same feedback loop to win improvements. Kentuckians will have to direct errors and appeals to healthcare.gov and its 10 call centers throughout the country. Staff there have no experience with Kentucky Medicaid. We would lose the consumer-friendly experience of Kynect.
Let’s keep this successful program.
UK can afford cuts
Jan. 28 headline — “Capilouto: Budget brings ‘significant challenges.’” The state workers’ pension fund has not been fully funded in years. In fact, has been borrowed from and not repaid. The state has a multitude of other problems, and the University of Kentucky president is whining about getting $25.2 million less taxpayer money?
The article continues with the fact that UK will still receive over $200 million in taxpayer money. Eli Capilouto goes on to say, “there is still a long legislative process before budgets are approved and a lot of lobbying to do.”
If you’re paying millions to coaches, not to mention your (and other) six-figure salaries, could you not find ways to be a better steward of said monies?
Bill would add abortions
It is no surprise that the legislative committee that approved Senate Bill 7, limiting access to family planning and health care by defunding Planned Parenthood, is all male and primarily Republican. For a party that claims to hate regulations, they sure like to regulate. Kentucky women need protection from this committee.
As a young woman, I depended on Lexington Planned Parenthood for my gynecological care, which was provided in a caring manner at low cost. If it hadn’t been for its services I doubt my cervical cancer would have been identified at an early stage and successfully treated, enabling me to carry and birth two sons. Planned Parenthood taught me the basics of how women’s reproductive systems function and should be cared for, including how to do self-exams for breast cancer.
Affordable access to birth control is key to reducing unwanted pregnancies. Even people who oppose women’s right to choose should understand that SB7 would increase unwanted pregnancies and abortions. It would also have a detrimental effect on women’s health, particularly that of poor women who have limited options.
Senators, keep your testosterone-infused, disingenuous, counterproductive ideas away from our reproductive rights. Women need more, not less, access to health care.
Language of hypocrisy
I agree with the French literature professor from the University of Kentucky. It is hypocritical of the governor to state that there is no need nor want for liberal arts language majors, when he majored in Asian studies, became fluent in Japanese and later achieved success in business.
As a graduate of UK with a degree in Chinese culture, I think his statement is offensive. The governor has stated he would like to grow Kentucky’s economy by encouraging investment. If such skills are not needed nor wanted, let the governor welcome and interpret for foreign businessmen himself. Japanese is close to Chinese, so I’m sure he will do just fine.
Gov. Matt Bevin’s budget demonstrated that he is not committed to providing the educations necessary to sustain Kentucky’s unique culture. Stating “there will be more incentives to electrical engineers than French literature majors,” Bevin hypocritically insulted the very type of education he once received.
As a student of international affairs and French at Transylvania University, I was struck that Bevin considers few disciplines valid pursuits because they don’t incentivize “outcomes that ... people want.”
How does he know what people want? He contradicts the foundation of democracy, ensuring majority rule and minority rights.
Many people serve our country, educate and operate businesses thanks to, not in spite of, their liberal educations.
Maybe Bevin fears that liberal studies are fuel for civic and governmental participation. Perhaps he understands that the best defense of weak ideals is stifling intellectualism and limiting citizens’ access to rigorous and diverse educations.
Education creates active citizens and is the biggest threat to the status quo. As Sen. Rand Paul quoted from Os Guinness, “Liberty requires restraint, but the only restraint consistent with liberty is self-restraint.” Maybe it’s time for Bevin to practice self-restraint to foster the very liberty that he preaches of daily.
Too much religion
While I would like to use my allotted 200 words to address the substance of our new governor’s budget, I’ll have to to leave that for the next letter, because before his address even began, I found myself shocked, stunned, appalled, dumbfounded — choose your own descriptive — by what preceded it: a Christian prayer, after which many members said “amen.”
Just like church. Has the ACLU gotten wind of this?
Then, before launching into his budget, Bevin actually doubled down by referencing “our savior Jesus Christ.”
Wow. Totally, mind-bogglingly inappropriate.
Surely, in 2016 we all understand separation of church and state. Surely, such blatant religious incursions into the business of government warrants a legal challenge. Surely, Bevin and our representatives, never mind the separation principle, must realize that citizens of this state, many of whom are Jewish, Muslim or atheist, find clear references to religion, especially a favored religion, by our government officials during the course of governmental business, both improper and offensive.
I realize that other church/state separation quarrels have been “settled” by disguised references like Ten Commandments postings as “an historical document” but this unapologetic, specific worship of Jesus Christ goes beyond history. Wow-ee.