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Bill would provide tax credits in Promise Zone

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This bill sounds like a great idea to me but what I do not understand is why other eastern Ky. counties that have been just as devastated by the collapse of the coal industry are not included in the Promise Zone. All the counties in U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers' 22 county district should be included and I suspect they are. But why is this legislation just for these counties represented by Rep. Nelson? Is our representation being left out of the conversation, and if so, why has she not said anything about it? People are hurting. They need jobs, good jobs and this infusion of funding could really help in providing the training needed for our workers and infrastructure which must be put in place, including the Kynect program which has disappeared under Gov. Bevin. I want answers, don't you?  --Mark Grayson) 

  FRANKFORT -- U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, (left) joined Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, at a Kentucky General Assembly Education Committee meeting in Frankfort on Sept. 12. Alexander testified to the committee about the Every Students Succeeds Act, which he authored and which was signed into federal law last year.

 

FRANKFORT – State Rep. Rick Nelson has pre-filed a bill designed to boost efforts to create jobs in Southeastern Kentucky where the economy has been rattled by a sharp drop in coal employment.

The bill would allow retailers in the designated federal Promise Zone, an area that includes Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, Perry and Whitley counties, to retain the sales and use tax collected instead of remitting the tax to the state. Nelson (Bell-Harlan) said this portion of the proposed incentives would allow retailers to retain approximately $22 million of state tax dollars, using those dollars to strengthen the local economies.

The proposal would also allow an income tax credit for qualified employers in an amount equal to $100 for each qualified employee working within the Promise Zone. For qualified employees working in the Promise Zone, the bill would allow an individual income tax credit equal to the individual income tax on wages earned in the promise zone, not to exceed $2,400. There is a $3 million threshold for businesses to be eligible for this program.

Nelson and state Rep. Tim Couch (Clay, Laurel and Leslie) introduced a similar bill during the 2015 General Assembly. Nelson said he will continue to push for the legislation because it would provide an incentive for businesses to set up shop and expand since the designation doesn’t come with federal tax credits. This bill is similar to that currently being sponsored by Senator Rand Paul designed for the federal Promise Zone.

“Tax incentives can give the struggling community a powerful boost,” he said. “Incentives can encourage economic development, business expansion and job creation. That’s the intent of my proposal. Helping businesses in this way further the Commonwealth’s goals of achieving long-term economic growth and employment opportunities for its citizens.”

The proposed tax incentives would expire in December 2021.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 09, 2016
 

An Eastern Kentucky coal mine is expected to be idled in November, resulting in the loss of 117 jobs, Karla Ward reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Steve Hawkins, spokesperson for Alpha Natural Resources, said the Process Energy Mine in Pike County will go idle on Nov. 7. Hawkins said the mine, the company's last active one in Kentucky, is being shuttered “based upon the continued depressed coal market.”

Coal jobs in Kentucky have reached the lowest levels in 118 years. Of the 25 U.S. counties with the biggest coal job losses since 2011, eight are in Kentucky. Eastern Kentucky saw a 21.6 percent decline in coal jobs during the first three months of 2016 and lost another 6.1 percent of coal jobs from April to June, according to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Written by Tim Mandell Posted at 9/09/2016 09:59:00 AM

State PSC sets September public meeting in Lexington for Columbia Gas rate increase case

 

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) will hold a public meeting this month in Lexington to receive public comments on a rate increase requested by Columbia Gas of Kentucky.

The public comment meeting on Sept. 14 will be preceded by an information session during which PSC staff will explain the process used to determine utility rates. The presentation will include an overview of the Columbia Gas application.

The information session will begin at 5:30 p.m. EDT. It will last an hour and will include a presentation by PSC staff and a question-and-answer period focusing on the PSC process. For those unable to attend, the presentation will be available on the PSC website,psc.ky.gov, beginning Sept. 14.

The public comment portion of the meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT. The location is:

Large Conference Room
Northside Branch – Lexington Public Library
1733 Russell Cave Road

In addition to the public meeting, the PSC will conduct a formal evidentiary hearing in the case on Nov. 1, beginning at 9 a.m. EDT. The hearing will be held at the PSC offices at 211 Sower Boulevard in Frankfort, and may last several days. It will be open to the public and may be viewed live on the PSC website.

Public comments will be taken at the beginning of the evidentiary hearing.

Written comments will be accepted through the conclusion of the evidentiary hearing. They may be mailed to the PSC at P.O. Box 615, Frankfort, KY 40602, faxed to 502-564-9625, e-mailed from the PSC website or submitted in person at the public meetings or at the PSC offices.

Columbia Gas is seeking PSC authorization to increase annual revenue by about $25.4 million per year, or about 27.4 percent, bringing total annual revenue to about $118.1 million. The proposed revenue increase would come through higher monthly customer charges and delivery charges.

The cost of the natural gas itself is calculated separately, fluctuates with market conditions and is recovered by Columbia Gas on a dollar-for-dollar basis, with no markup.

With the proposed changes the monthly bill for a typical residential customer (using an average of 5,500 cubic feet of gas per month) would increase by $11.30 or 37 percent over current base rates. When the current cost of natural gas is factored in, the increase for the typical residential customer would be from the current $55.59 to $66.88, or about 20.3 percent.

Columbia Gas says that the rate request is driven mostly by the need to recover the cost of ongoing system improvements, including replacement of older gas mains that would pose potential safety problems if they remain in the ground. The company’s last base rate increase came in December of 2013 and resulted in a monthly bill increase of $3.12 for a typical residential customer.

Columbia Gas serves about 135,000 customers in 30 counties in central and northeast Kentucky. Most are in Lexington and surrounding communities.

The Columbia Gas application and related documents are available on the PSC website, psc.ky.gov. The case number is 2016-00162.

From Kentucky PSC Communications

 

 

Lawrence County Board of Education
Special Meeting – Tax Rates

 

Every Child College and Career Ready;

A Community Involved and Informed

September 7, 2016 5:30 p.m.

Lawrence County High School

Louisa, Kentucky

 

AGENDA

1. CALL TO ORDER  

Mission:  Every Child College and Career Ready; A Community Involved and Informed

The Pledge to the United States Flag

2. EXECUTIVE SESSION 

2.A. Approve to enter Executive Session for the purpose of Student Discipline/Expulsion Hearing pursuant to KRS 61.810(1)(f)

2.B. Approve return to Open Session

3. STUDENT LEARNING AND SUPPORT SERVICES

3.A. Approve Consent Agenda items: 

3.A.1. Per diem and expenses for members present

3.A.2. Notice of Shortened School Day and/or Week for Special Education student

3.A.3. FY16 Kentucky Adult Education Program Memorandum of Understanding: $129,608

(Core Services: $108,736; Performance Funding: $7,611; Federal Supplement: $13,261)

3.B. Approve 2016-2017 Sheriff Collection Rate

3.C. Approve 2016-2017 Tax Rates

3.D. FY 2017 Working Budget Discussion (no action)

3. E. Approve purchase of thermostats at Louisa West Elementary

3.F. Information pertaining to purchase of technology and equipment since July 1, 2016                 (no action)

4. PERSONNEL

4.A. Approve creation and changes regarding positions

4.B. Superintendent's Personnel Action/Update

5. ADJOURNMENT

Date: 09-01-2016

Special election will beheld along with regular General

Rep. Rd WhitfieldU.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield has resigned from office, effective Tuesday. A special election will take place the same day as the Nov. 8 general election to fill the remainder of the term.

The congressman’s office made the announcement on Wednesday. Spokesman Robert Hankins said Whitfield’s decision to resign has nothing to do with “ethics or health reasons.”

He said it was a personal decision, and one he could not discuss further at this time. More details about Whitfield’s plan will be released in the next 30 days, he added.

Hankins explained the congressman’s staff will remain at the district, state and national offices to handle issues such as disability claims, case work and veterans’ issues.

“It has been my honor and privilege to have represented the constituents of the 1st District of Kentucky in the United States Congress for the last almost 22 years,” Whitfield wrote in his resignation letter to Gov. Matt Bevin.

“As you know, I did not seek re-election to Congress this year and have now decided to submit my resignation as the Congressman of the First District of Kentucky …,” Whitfield continued. “I have enjoyed serving with you and wish you and your administration the very best …”

Bevin said in a statement he will issue a proclamation declaring a special election to fill the vacancy, adding the special election and the general election for the seat will be on the same day, Nov. 8.

Republican nominee James Comer said in a statement he will seek the nomination for the unexpired term and that he fully expects to be on the ballot twice on Nov. 8 — once for the unexpired term and once for the full two-year term.

Democrat Sam Gaskins said in a phone interview he expects to be on the ballot for the both the special election and the general election on Nov. 8.

Bradford Queen with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office explained it is up to each party to nominate candidates in the event of a special election.

The current candidates on the ballot for the general election are Comer, Gaskins, and write-in candidate Terry McIntosh of Paducah.

In the event of the special and general elections being on the same day, Queen said, the filing deadline will be Sept. 20.

Whitfield was first elected to Congress in 1994, becoming the first Republican to represent Kentucky’s 1st District.

He is a Hopkinsville native and served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1974-75, as a Democrat, while practicing law.

In 1979, Whitfield became counsel to the president of Seaboard System Railroad in Washington D.C. He was then named vice president of state relations and then vice president for Federal Railroad Affairs for CSX Corp., according to New Era archives.

“For more than two decades, Congressman Ed Whitfield has served the people of Kentucky’s First District with distinction,” U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell wrote in a statement. “During his tenure in Congress, Ed has fought hard for the people of Western Kentucky and it has been an honor working alongside him on a variety of issues.”

“I am thankful for our many years of friendship, and Elaine and I extend every best wish to Ed, Connie and the entire Whitfield family in the years ahead,” McConnell concluded.

Hankins said he didn’t have any information about Whitfield’s future plans, including whether or not he would be moving back home to Hopkinsville.

By Rebecca Walter
Kentucky New Era