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(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 – 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
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.A. Approve creation and changes regarding positions
4.B. Superintendent's Personnel Action/Update
U.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