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Bluegrass Blueprint for Prosperity

Americans for Prosperity-Kentucky’s 2020 legislative agenda provides a bold outline of how lawmakers can improve the lives of all Kentuckians and turn the Commonwealth into a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

STOP OVERSPENDING TO PROTECT KENTUCKY’S TAXPAYERS

Kentucky doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. After decades of spending, borrowing and piling on debt, Kentucky’s families are stuck with Frankfort’s IOUs. As of last year, Kentucky’s $54.6 billion in debt equals $12,261 for every man, woman and child in the state. It is time for Frankfort to Stop Over Spending.

  • Fight against tax increases: Frankfort’s special interests are calling for higher taxes to fuel more spending. Kentuckians are taxed enough. Frankfort should live within its means and protect taxpayers’ wallets.
  • Stop new health care taxes to fund Obamacare in Kentucky: Kentucky’s hospitals are lobbying hard for new health care taxes to fund Medicaid expansion. Higher taxes mean higher health care costs for Kentucky’s families. The General Assembly should side with working families, not the hospital industry.

FIGHT AGAINST CORPORATE WELFARE AND CRONYISM

Government should pursue policies that create a level playing field where everyone is bound by the same set of rules. Instead, the game is rigged by powerful special interests, allowing government to pick winners and losers through subsidies, tax carveouts, regulatory barriers and protectionist policies. AFP-Kentucky is leading the way in the fight against corporate welfare and cronyism.

  • Eliminate Road Fund corporate welfare and cronyism: Kentucky’s Road Fund is full of tax exemptions, special interest tax breaks and a rigged bidding system that costs the state hundreds of millions in infrastructure investment. $112 million in gas taxes is diverted to the General Fund instead of spent on maintenance and construction of roads and bridges. Instead of higher gas taxes, Kentucky should cut the corporate welfare and cronyism in the Road Fund.
  • Oppose the $50 million Louisville Hospital Bailout: The University of Louisville wants to acquire Jewish Hospital, and wants a $50 million taxpayer-backed loan to fund purchase of the failing facility. State government has a terrible track record when intervening in the private sector. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for the success or failure of this deal.
  • Stop the “Rural Jobs Coalition” from fleecing taxpayers: The so-called Rural Jobs Coalition has nothing to do with creating rural jobs and everything to do with corporate welfare. States that have evaluated their own similar programs and have found they failed to deliver promised jobs and tax revenues. Lawmakers should say no to this latest attempt by rent-seeking companies to leech tax dollars from taxpayers.
  • End the KentuckyWired cronyism: KentuckyWired, the state’s broadband project,  is a disaster, with a shortfall of nearly $650 million. The nonprofit Center for Rural Development is demanding $60 million in payments even though it has not put a dollar of its own money into the project. The Kentucky General Assembly should end this cronyism.

EXPAND EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM BY EMPOWERING PARENTS WITH CHOICES

Every child is unique, meaning education can’t be one-size-fits-all. Families need choices to ensure they are getting the education that best fits their children’s needs. It is time for the Kentucky General Assembly to enact real educational options to empower parents and students.

  • Enact Scholarship Tax Credits (STCs): STCs will help thousands of lower- and middle-income families afford the right school for their children. Private donations will fund new scholarships to provide access to schools currently out of reach for many Kentucky families.
  • Fund Kentucky’s Charter Schools: The General Assembly has denied lower-income urban students an opportunity to access schools that better meet their needs. It is time to provide urban charter schools as an option for parents to get the education their children deserve.

ENACT CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

Kentucky spends $1.2 billion on prisons every two years. Jails are overcrowded with low-level, non-violent offenders.

  • Our criminal justice system should prioritize rehabilitation over punishment and provide second chances. The criminal justice system should be focused on re-entry services and restoring opportunity. Bail reform and the restoration of voting rights will make our streets safer and support second chances.
  • In addition, Kentucky needs real Asset and Forfeiture Reporting and Transparency. The current reporting requirements don’t get the job done. This is an area where consensus can be found in a way that protects individual rights and engages law enforcement as a partner in the solution.

Combat Cronyism in the Commonwealth

We urge the General Assembly to put their constituents first and prevent tax dollars from being unjustly diverted to organizations, such as the Center for Rural Development, that don’t create value for the public, but use political connections to delve out crony contracts such as Kentucky Wired.

Reforming the Outdated And Unfair Criminal Justice System

AFP-Kentucky supports policies that will make our streets safer and help Kentuckians get a much-needed second chance. We strive for an effective criminal justice system that protects people, respects human dignity, preserves property rights, restores victims, provides second chances to those who’ve paid their debt to society, and ensures equal justice under the law. Kentucky’s criminal justice system should provide public safety, protect the unalienable rights of all, and create access to opportunity for those who’ve paid their debt to society.

Restoring Voting Rights for Those Who Have Paid Their Debts

Second chances help create safer streets and more harmonious communities. Restoring the eligibility to vote to people who have done their time and paid their debts in full will make our society safer, our system more just, and provide for real second chances for returning citizens.

Reforming the Bail System

Under our current bail policies, the rich and guilty often get a better deal than the poor and innocent. The decision to jail someone before they get their day in court should be based on an individual’s flight or safety risk, not their financial status. It’s time to reform our outdated bail laws and move to a fairer, evidence-based approach that protects Kentuckians’ constitutional right to due process.

Reforming Civil Asset Forfeiture

Currently, the government can legally seize and keep your property without the burden of proof of a crime. This system lacks transparency, can easily be abused, and creates bad incentives for the hard-working men and women who serve as our police. It’s time we stand up for the property rights of ALL Kentuckians.

Help Students Fulfill Their Potential

All children across the Commonwealth deserve an educational opportunity that best meets their unique needs—one that embraces the freedom of innovation and the dignity of the individual. We must allow educators the freedom to provide innovative solutions to educate our children. Educational empowerment for parents and their children is critical to ensuring all students are given the knowledge and tools to find their passion in life.

Expanding Educational Opportunities for Students, Educators

All families must have the freedom to select educational options that meet the unique needs of their children. Educational opportunity must be available to all students, regardless of their zip code or income level. Two avenues that we’d like to pursue in Kentucky to expand options for students, educators, and their families would include enacting scholarship tax credits and funding charter schools.