I am a long-time infiltrator of Kentucky who grew up in Indiana. As much as we like to tease our neighbors about this, there is not really enough difference culturally to make a difference. In Kentucky, you have hillbillies. In Indiana, we had hicks. At least that is how I think of it.
But I have lived for so many decades in Kentucky that I now think of it as my place. It is a pleasant place, geographically, for me – mostly because it is not very different from Indiana. There are many nice people here. But Kentucky has its problems when it comes to the area of fiscal responsibility.
Kentucky does poorly economically because Kentucky continues to be a “tax and spend” state, or ‘commonwealth’ to be more precise. That last term, in a certain invented sense, should be true in Kentucky. More people should have more wealth than they do. The fact that they do not is due to the fact that the policies of Kentucky, ever since I have lived here, have tended toward the “tax everything possible” approach. When that does not work out well, the usual remedy is “tax everything some more and hope that solves the problem.” It is as though Kentuckians are just stupid enough to hit themselves in the head, and then, feeling pain, hit themselves in the head again supposing it will alleviate the pain.
One of an unending stream of examples of this came up recently in some interesting information about the announced closing of the Toyota headquarters in Erlanger, Kentucky – very near where live. As Eric Hermes put it – rather amusingly, I thought:
Why are they leaving?
Because they wanted employees to pay Brent Spence Bridge Tolls? NO
Because there is no local option sales tax? DOUBTFUL
Because they wanted to pay higher library and real estate taxes? WRONG AGAIN
Because the city of Erlanger hasn't raised payroll taxes enough (50% under current administration) Don't make me laugh
It seems that TRI-ED http://www.northernkentuckyusa.com/ and the NKY Chamber have lost their focus. Maybe they have been too busy promoting bridge tolls.
This is what Plano is offering them:
Occupation tax = 0
Local wage tax = 0
Corporate Income tax = 0
Personal Income tax = 0
Plano TX understands REAL business incentives.
See for yourself at the following link http://www.planotexas.org/Expand-and-Relocate.aspx
Northern Kentucky will continue to lose jobs with the current tax rates. It isn't due to bridge traffic, or that we need more bike paths, boat ramps, and parks. Businesses need real incentive to locate or stay in Northern Kentucky. We need less wasteful government spending and lower taxes.
Being a hillbilly is fine. But it is pathetic to watch hillbillies tax themselves into poverty, as is the pattern in Kentucky. Even the hicks over in Indiana have wised up about this to some extent recently. Whatever we should call Texans, perhaps the hillbillies of Kentucky need to pay some positive attention to their superior fiscal policies. Otherwise, there might end up being many more Texans, and many fewer Kentuckians. And most of those Kentuckians who remain will remain dirt poor.