By JEFF JOBE
Revenue isn’t always equally distributed and realistically this happens more times than not. Much like a parent, our government deals more with taking care of urgent needs or supporting opportunities to help themselves.
This is not at all an uncommon reality for many states. Early in my newspaper career I was transferred to western New York and realized then that the lion’s share of all revenue and taxes made its way to New York City.
I absolutely support Governor Matt Bevin and his efforts to grow and attract industry along with his philosophy of “We are Kentucky.”
I have seen my hometown of Greenup, Kentucky attract a large company and numerous other regions, even in our own area with the recent announcement for Green County. Our Governor and the 2017 legislative session put in place the most progressive business friendly policy available and we are seeing a tremendous surge for statewide economic development.
But just like the Governor’s philosophy being seen to give the tools for people to help themselves in regards to the work requirements this is true for economic development as well.
Our individual county leadership must coordinate on their own team of balanced business professionals but also coordinate regional efforts in order to attract the biggest and best companies.
These large national corporations need a smooth well-coordinated approach and this effort requires funding. Funding to assure available land, building sites and an infrastructure that is not only competitive but one that leads in putting packages and incentives together to secure these companies.
Kentucky must lead because we have been held back for so long and we must catch up.
Without a doubt, this administration inherited a terrible fiscal nightmare and trying to find increased economic development funding when the political spin of the media and union leaders taunting teachers and other retirees have all but stopped pension reform isn’t a good climate to move dollars to such efforts.
So, legislators need to look for ways to better use existing money and this is what Representative Bart Rowland has suggested with his HB 114.
This bill along with its identical companion in SB 9 would allocate more dollars to be sent back to 39 counties in southern and western Kentucky for economic development. A quick look at the map would show some of our states most needy communities for not only jobs but some badly needed upward career mobility that only strong national corporations can bring. In our own region Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Metcalfe and Monroe counties would all reap the benefits.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a publicly-owned utility created by the federal government and is exempt from taxation but because it is owned by the government they are required to send in-lieu-of tax payments. My understanding is these payments from utility companies now go into the state’s coffers. We all know that such agencies get their money from our families and businesses right here at home.
All this bill is asking is for half of what is paid to be returned to the communities in which it came from with a stipulation to use it for economic development. They can either coordinate their own strategy or even group them and do something amazing.
TVA supports the bill because it will use the money already being paid to grow industry inside their market and with industrial growth so does their demand.
This will allow us to suit up and get ready to prepare our region for economic growth now being seen in other states and position us to better help Governor Bevin and his administration. After all, “We, too, are Kentucky.”
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his previously published commentary at www.jobeforkentucky.com