Friday, February 16, 2007

Fletcher’s Fordfare Now Bipartisan

Governor Fletcher’s proposals were unacceptable. Now, he has state legislators slinging handouts.

Additionally, the below is not a solution. This package will make Kentucky competitive? Make us superior. Tax breaks, return for investment, negotiable employment? This is not help. This is “great society” smoke and mirrors.

From Pol Watchers:

Louisville lawmakers filed a bill today that would provide incentives potentially worth tens of millions of dollars to Ford Motor Co. if it decides to invest at least $100 million in its two Louisville assembly plants.

The bill would allow Ford to claim tax breaks worth up to 50 percent of their investment, said Republican Rep. Scott Brinkman of Louisville, a co-sponsor of the legislation along with Democratic Rep. Joni Jenkins of Shively.

"It enables Kentucky to be competitive with other states who are negotiating with Ford Motor Co. for job retention and new investment," Brinkman said. "They made it clear that they felt Kentucky did not have a package in front of them that they felt was competitive."

The proposal would require Ford to maintain a certain number of jobs in Louisville, but that number would be negotiable, Brinkman said. Ford has about 8,000 workers at its two Louisville plants, which mostly produce Explorer sport utility vehicles and F-250 Super Duty trucks.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher has already recommended that lawmakers use $10 million of the state's projected $401 million surplus to provide training for Ford workers. Lawmakers have not yet acted on his recommendation. In an effort to reduce vehicle output at its U.S. factories by 26 percent, Ford announced in September that it would cut the number of hourly workers in North America by 25,000 to 30,000 and close 14 plants by the end of 2008, four years earlier than previously announced. The company offered buyouts to all of its 75,000 hourly workers.

Probing The Field

From KY Progress Blog:

The Pol Watchers survey of gubernatorial candidates about casino gambling was interesting. Can't imagine what the Northup campaign was thinking about when they didn't respond. Harper's video response was very good in terms of style. His answer was my favorite, though Governor Fletcher's may be the best political answer. Looks like if you want someone who talks straight about the fool's gold of casino gambling, Billy Harper is your guy. His answers need to get tighter, but he has improved light years since the disastrous Ford press conference.

Jody Richards had much less need to respond than Northup did, so his silence makes sense. Beshear gave the best answer, I think, but he is leading in the wrong direction. Miller and Lunsford would have been better off issuing a no comment. Galbraith suggests a plan to get by without any gambling money, which makes a lot of sense and stands as a stark contrast in the Dem field. Steve Henry responded too. Is he still in the race?

Anne Northup’s non-answer is unsurprising. She has no policy. Her soul strategy is “Fletcher can’t win, Fletcher can’t win, Fletcher cant win.”

Governor Fletcher’s response was politically acceptable? Kentucky has had enough political answers.

Colluding Their Delusion

From Kentucky Pachyderm Two:

We want to take our hats off to Brian Goettl, county attorney in Jessamine County and one of the outspoken commentators at The Conservative Edge. Mr. Goettl shows an outstanding ability to comprehend and analyze political events, especially as they relate to the hiring investigation and the governor's race.

For a synopsis of exactly how perceptive he is, read the comments section on this post and see his rebuttal to an obvious Northup supporter who posted on Conservative Edge.

Specifically, this one: "Finally, while it's clear that Governor Fletcher is the most qualified candidate for the position and in my view more electable then Northup, (which negates her entire campaign thesis), that is not why I have defended him. I have defended him, because precious few other Republicans have. I have yet to see a letter to the editor from party leaders like yourself, going after Stumbo. In fact, I have yet to hear Northup or Hoover comment on Stumbo let alone criticize him. If you have been reading this site for the last eighteen months, you would have known that what Northup and her supporters have done, is exactly what Stumbo and the Frankfort Democratic establishment wanted. Stumbo didn't care about the merit system, the Democrats have been abusing it for years, he cared about attacking the growing strength of the GOP. When Northup and her supporters attack Fletcher, they are carrying out the bidding of the Democrats. So, support Northup all you want. Greg Stumbo is enjoying the ride. "

Some of you scoff when we say Greg Stumbo is laughing at the dissent within the Kentucky Republican ranks? This squabble is exactly what Stumbo wanted to see when he took Doug Doerting's evidence instead of saying, "Go see the Personnel Board, their office is over at Fountain Place."

Mr. Goettl has a firm grip on reality. He certainly gets it in regards to the merit system hiring investigation. We tip our hats to him for a job well done!

Ford Excels As Fletcher Fails

Fletcher says Ford incentives would add to tax breaks

Gov. Ernie Fletcher says his proposal to offer incentives to Ford Motor Co. would involve changing existing tax breaks to include plans to retain jobs rather than add them and consider the company's two Louisville factories as one.

The governor didn't know when the bill would be filed with the legislature, but said its focus would be on expanding existing programs rather than creating new ones. The bill-filing deadline is Friday.

Ford says Super Duty sales better than expected

Ford Motor Co.’s Louisville-built 2008 F-Series Super Duty trucks are off to a fast start with dealerships ordering 70,000 models so far, the automaker said today.

“Every aspect of the truck is the result of spending a great deal of time listening to our customers. There’s no other family of trucks like this,” Mark Fields, Ford’s president for the Americas, said in a news release. Ford called the launch orders better than expected.

Ford sold about 320,000 Super Duty trucks last year, and it hopes to sell more of the redesigned 2008 models. It sold the first 2008 truck last month, but they won’t be widely available until the end of this month.

First, Congratulations Ford!

Second, Fletcher’s proposals are ridiculous. A Republican proposing corporate welfare? Job retention, not expansion? Fletcher is standing on the beach, bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon.

Very Fletcher Legislation

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Shortly after 3:30 p.m., the state House approved a constitutional amendment that would limit the governor's pardon power by a 71-26 vote. It moves to the Senate, where it needs 23 votes -- or more than 60 percent -- to pass. It would then be on the ballot in the 2008 election, if approved by the Senate.

The amendment would: require any person seeking a pardon to apply to the governor, require that the person accepts the pardon, and limits pardons only to those who had been indicted and convicted of a crime. The measure, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Darryl Owens of Louisville and Rob Wilkey of Scottsville, sparked a brief discussion.

Rep. Scott Brinkman, R-Louisville, argued that the General Assembly shouldn't "act hastily" and should study how many other states limit the power in such way. He noted that the issue won't appear on the ballot until November 2008 anyway. But Owens and Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, both said it was a "thoughtful" piece of legislation that protects citizens if they choose to adopt it. "We know that they have good judgment because if they didn't we wouldn't be here," Graham said. "Grant them the judgment to decide whether this should be a part of our constitution."

Wilkey said the bill was not meant to be a shot at Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who pardoned his administration in August 2005 in response to an investigation into state hiring practices. Rep. Jeff Hoover, the Republican leader from Jamestown who is running with Anne Northup against Fletcher in the GOP primary, was among 12 Republicans who approved the constitutional amendment. House Speaker Jody Richards, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, also voted for the measure. Rep. Dottie Sims was the only Democrat to vote against it.

Conservative Edge: Have You Lost Your Mind?

Democratic merit hiring farce continues: Richards, others prove they don't care about Democratic abuse of power

Assume for a moment that every allegation made against Governor Fletcher by Attorney General Greg Stumbo was true. That the Governor ran a corrupt criminal organization out of his office, that he committed criminal abuse of the merit hiring system and that he attempted to fire innocent merit system employees.

Wouldn't you have to conclude that Greg Stumbo abused the office of Attorney General when he completely exonerated the Governor by dismissing all criminal charges with prejudice, after having spent millions of taxpayer dollars investigating the Governor? And that the exoneration came only after it was determined that Stumbo couldn't run for Governor if his office were prosecuting Fletcher.

Or, assume that none of the allegations against Governor Fletcher were true. That his LINK program was ethical and legal. That he had a right to fire merit system employees who were using their taxpayer funded jobs to undermine the popularly elected Governor for partisan political advantage.

Wouldn't you have to conclude that Greg Stumbo abused his powers as Attorney General by wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a purely partisan political prosecution? Designed to help Stumbo beat Fletcher in the gubernatorial election?

Regardless of what you think Fletcher has done, good or bad, you would have to conclude that Greg Stumbo abused the powers of the office of Attorney General. Yet, the House of Representatives passed a transparent, partisan, politically motivated bill that would limit the pardon powers of the Governor. But failed to in any way, address the abuse of the office of Attorney General.

Today's action sent a clear message to the citizens of Kentucky, that the Democrats in Frankfort don't care when other Democrats abuse the power of their office. It also sent a clear message that it's politics as usual. Frankly, it's a disgrace to gubernatorial candidate and House Speaker, Jody Richards. I expected more from Richards. These are not the qualities of a Governor of Kentucky.

Hoover and Williams should take action, even if only symbolic

As we noted in the previous post, that no matter what you think Governor Fletcher has done, that the logical conclusion is that Greg Stumbo abused the powers of the office of Attorney General. For that reason, I am asking House Minority Leader and current Lt. Gov. candidate Jeff Hoover, and Senate President David Williams to offer a resolution condemning Attorney General Greg Stumbo for abusing the office of the Attorney General, even if the action is only symbolic. In fact, we'd ask both Republican leaders to consult legal counsel on drafting language for a constitutional amendment that would prevent future AG's from abusing their prosecution powers. The citizens of Kentucky deserve to have all office holders held accountable.
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