From legislature to governor’s office, this week is vital opportunity to make things right


It’s apparent that people, in large numbers, are dissatisfied and distrustful of the governmental bodies elected to represent them. From the local to the federal level, it’s difficult to deny that people simply don’t believe government acts in the best interests of the people, but instead in the interests of a party or self-interest.

And the way things have gone in Kentucky over the past few weeks hasn’t exactly instilled a newfound confidence in those elected at that level.

The good: For the first time in a long time, the Kentucky legislature took action to deal with a growing pension crisis. The bad: The legislature and Gov. Matt Bevin botched the passage by inserting it as a last-minute amendment on a completely unrelated bill.

It passed, but not without raising the ire of educators and other public employees, and, likely, not without escaping the course of judicial review of the measure.

Added to that was the passage of House Bill 366, which made several cuts to agencies, including education, and House Bill 200, which made changes to tax structures that are still being assessed and not universally seen as positive. Beyond that is the fact that State Budget Director John Chilton informed Bevin via letter on Friday that the measures likely overstate, by as much as $50 million, how much revenue would be created. Part of the problem: Chilton’s office just began examining the bill April 2, the same day it was approved.

Thankfully, Bevin announced Monday he will veto House Bill 200 and House Bill 366. And we’re glad that he’s taking a chance to, at least potentially, right that rushed wrong. 

The pension bill, however, obviously needs to be worked on, because it lacked the one vital thing the other two measures did as well — a lack of input from anyone who will be affected by it.

The holdup on the budget and tax bills are a good start, but there’s now another level of trust that’s been lost. 

When, as in these situations, there is an unwillingness on both sides to even let the word “compromise” escape their lips, that’s not a call for unilateral action, even though that may be the primary impulse of the side with the greatest balance of power.

Instead, it’s a reason for a much more concerted and dedicated effort to bring all sides to the table to work out the issues, no matter how much time it takes.

There’s too much at stake for this to remain unresolved. There’s not going to be a way to make every person satisfied with so many issues on the table. But we’ll never know how much can be resolved if we don’t listen to each other’s voices.

And that these issues focus most heavily on education makes this about more than just some numbers on a balance sheet or line item on a budget. It’s about our children, their futures and, in a greater sense, the future of our state.

And that should be a reason for us to work to not just get it done, but to get it done correctly.

— Appalachian News-Express

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