(Disclaimer: This article contains political opinion by a candidate for State Representative)
January 15, 2020 by Don Thrasher
This is not a conspiracy theory, a study by Harvard University’s Center For Ethics ranked the most corrupt states in the United States. Kentucky received the worst ranking, #1. This coincides with a Indiana University study that put Kentucky in the top 10 of corruption.
Speculation that Nelson County is one of the more corrupt states in Kentucky has not been verified or quantified. But apparently there are a lot of law enforcement and ethics advocates that have speculated Nelson County is close to the top.
The Indiana study found that the most corrupt states have excessive state spending, but they also spend more in areas of the government that are susceptible to corruption, like construction contracts.
Many of the corrupt states exhaust a lot of money on big infrastructure projects for which the money trail is not fully transparent to the public. Extortion, bribes and kickbacks may cause a rise in expenditures.
To give you an example of this some legislators here like Chad McCoy like to tout Tennessee as an example for its tax structure. The big problem with this is the fact that Tennessee has 48% more residents than Kentucky but yet our budget is $34 Billion and theirs is $36 Billion. So when a recent University of Kentucky study showed that there is “tacit collusion” among state highway contractors – if that is true you can see why Kentucky’s state budget is so much higher than our neighbor Tennessee per capita.
Here is the map from the Indiana University study, the states in black are the top 10 most corrupt.
While Nelson County may or may not be one of the most corrupt counties, these studies say Kentucky has some serious corruption issues. Issues that are costing taxpayers a lot more money than they should be paying. If Tennessee is a model for taxes used by Mr. McCoy and other legislators, they should also try and look at why we are spending 40% more per capita in our state budget than they are.
Corruption in the justice system is also clearly an issue in Kentucky. One that needs to be addressed from a ground up perspective. Too many families are hurt by injustice at their county court house. This kind of pain is much harder than the pocket book pain.
There will always be corruption, the level and extent is for the voters to decide how much they will accept. Highway Contractors in Kentucky need to be held accountable and contracts need to be reigned in. The average working family in Kentucky is now being taxed much higher because of increased service taxes. Ask any accountant or tax preparing business will probably tell you middle income and lower income people have been hurt over the last 2 years from tax reform that was geared to help big business and the wealthy.
A state representative’s job is to call out corruption. Someday the voters will get tired of more and more of their hard earned money going to pay for corruption and greed and they will say enough is enough. The elite politicians, the wealthy people pick who they say is the best candidate for the average people. The country club cliques don’t care that you have had to pay more in taxes relative to their income.
At the end of the day it is up to the voters to vote out corruption, because the politicians we have now don’t seem to be doing it.
**Disclaimer** Don Thrasher is the Publisher of the Kentucky Record and is also a candidate for State Representative Dist. 50 (Nelson County) this has been political opinion and commentary.