KFB Directors meet with state officialsPosted on Mar 1, 2014
Governor Beshear focused most of his remarks on his Executive Budget proposal which is before the General Assembly. Noting that he included funding for a new Breathitt Veterinary Lab in Hopkinsville, he said “I did the easy part; now this needs your help” with the legislature. “Be vigilent. Go to these Senate and House members and ask for support. There’s a lot of work to do.”
The Breathitt Center has been a KFB priority issue for several years.
Obviously aware that KFB is not keen on the so-called “Obamacare,” Governor Beshear asked the KFB leaders to keep an open mind.
“Throw out the politics -- there’s a lot of good stuff in there,” he said, referencing the provisions of the new health care law. He then noted that nearly 200,000 Kentuckians had enrolled during the first two months.
Turning to agriculture, Governor Beshear said he was pleased with the current status of the state’s farm economy.
“I like where we are,” he said. “The market deserves the credit but we’ve also been smart. We are moving in the right direction.”
He commended KFB for its work with the agricultural development process.
“I want to thank you for the partnership we’ve had over the past six years,” he said.
Stivers, a Republican from Clay County, directed most of his comments toward tax reform and the state budget. But he said his top priority was Senate Bill 1, which restricts the use of Executive Orders and regulations. He explained how it is possible for government to use those tools to undermine the intent of laws enacted by the legislative branch. Those situations, he said, have been particularly harmful to business.
Stivers made what several KFB Directors felt was a sound argument against the assertion by urban interests that those areas do not receive a fair share of the state budget outlays by comparison to the revenues from those areas. Stivers made several points as to the sizeable amount of urban business income that comes from rural residents. In one particular point he made, he said that 87 percent of the patients at the UK Medical Center come from outside of Fayette County. He also referenced the sizeable amount of trade that rural residents bring to the Louisville area, especially for special events like the State Fair.
Commissioner Comer may have surprised the KFB leaders when he confessed that he is somewhat embarrassed by all the media attention he receives from the industrial hemp issue.
“You’d think that’s all we do at the department,” he said, grinning.
Comer said the department had been working hard to help farmers find propane during this winter’s shortage and has a wide variety of programs on the move. And yet he continues to receive “national press” on the hemp issue, despite his acknowledgment that a significant development of the crop in Kentucky is probably years away, Comer said.
He also was quick to assert that he is not “pushing” legislation that would abolish the Governor’s Office for Agricultural Policy and transfer the work to KDA. “We’re not lobbying that, but we will make it work if it comes to be,” he said.
Tagged Post Topics Include: Breathitt Veterinary Lab, Clay County, Commissioner of Agriculture, General Assembly, Governor, Greg Fischer, Hopkinsville, James Comer, Louisville Mayor, Public Policy, Robert Stivers, Steve Beshear