- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

Feb. 4

Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky., on legislators should pass bill to increase teacher tax credit:

Teachers deserve a lot of credit for all they do for students.

One important, selfless act Kentucky teachers do every year sometimes goes unnoticed - they dip into their own pockets to pay for classroom supplies.

Teachers do this because they care.

School budgets clearly aren’t lined with Fort Knox gold for supplies. When teachers go beyond the schools’ means and buy these education tools, they show their passion for education and their care for kids’ futures.

Currently, teachers can get a $250 state tax credit for buying supplies. State Rep. Brian Linder, R-Dry Ridge, has proposed a bill that would increase the credit to $500 annually.

In announcing House Bill 243, Linder pointed to a survey he reviewed that noted 40,000 Kentucky teachers took the $250 credit last fiscal year and maxed out. He said some teachers spend up to $1,000 on classroom supplies each year.

This is a lot of money on a teacher’s salary, which is why Linder’s bill is so important to Kentucky educators.

It is a plus that our state offers a tax credit for teachers at all, but Linder’s proposal of a higher tax credit goes further toward easing the spending burden.

By passing House Bill 243, the General Assembly would reward teachers’ dedication and passion for Kentucky children’s education.




Feb. 4

The Gleaner, Henderson, Ky., on asking whether Detroit could be immigrants’ dream land:

Congress is about to resume its annual and pointless debate over illegal immigration, with Republicans insisting that before anything else gets done the government finish building a barrier the length of the border with Mexico.

At one point while Congress was mired in stalemate, Michael Bloomberg, then New York mayor, brought some fresh thinking to bear on the immigration issue, proposing the following:

The United States would welcome families under this condition: “We’re going to assign you a city - let’s say Detroit - you’ve got to agree to not be arrested and not take any federal, state or city money, and you’ve got to live there for seven years and if you survive seven years, we’ll make you and your family full citizens.”

There were a few red flags in there. That word “survive,” for example. One Detroit blogger suggested that if the immigrants survived one night in certain parts of the city they deserved immediate citizenship.

Detroit took a while to warm to the plan, but having seen its population fall from 1.8 million to 700,000, finally embraced it.

And why not? No one else wanted to move to a city whose most well-known landmark is the massive ruined hulk of a once grand but not abandoned railroad station.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is seeking Washington’s help in bringing 5,000 immigrants this year, rising to 15,000 a year by the fifth year of the program, to live and work in Detroit. Snyder, it would seem to us, was aiming just a trifle high.

The governor is seeking 50,000 immigrants “with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in science, business or the arts.”

Bloomberg theorized that illegal immigrants, safe from deportation and on a path to citizenship - as long as they stayed within the city limits, would reclaim derelict neighborhoods, start small businesses, have a low crime rate and, “Since they value education, they’d make a big fuss and demand that the schools get better.”

All of this sounds quite plausible, and if the idea works, exhausted, frightened and soaked illegal immigrants may climb out of the Rio Grande to find waiting for them - not border control agents, do-gooders bearing food and water or the thugs who prey on desperate illegals but smiling members of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, jostling with similar delegations from Cleveland, Buffalo and Youngstown.




Feb. 2

Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky., on phone companies should have freedom to invest wisely:

Elected officials often walk a fine line in their efforts to be “business friendly.” Laws and regulations need to ensure that Kentucky communities are open for business, but there have to be necessary protections for residents as well.

Sometimes, however, this debate becomes so skewed that it seems common sense is being tossed out the window. That has been the case the last few years with efforts to modernize Kentucky’s outdated telecommunications laws.

As Hood Harris, AT&T;’s Kentucky president, points out, “Some of Kentucky’s laws that regulate our phones were written before cable television, cellphones, the Internet or email existed. Because of these outdated laws, providers like AT&T; must sink resources into outdated technology that could be invested in the modern broadband and wireless technology consumers want and need.”

As it stands now, phone companies in Kentucky are required to provide landline service to every home and business, despite the fact that about 70 percent of all households have left the traditional service for wireless or Voice over Internet Protocol.

Senate Bill 99, which easily sailed through the Senate on Thursday, would allow phone companies the freedom to provide wireless or VoIP service in most urban areas, rather than traditional landlines. Rural areas would be mostly unaffected.

It’s also important to remember this isn’t the “big, bad corporation” forcing people to give up their beloved service. The phone carriers are only reacting to the market. People are running away from landlines straight to wireless services, and carriers should be able to respond to that demand without being handcuffed by laws that were written at a time when today’s technology was merely a dream.

SB 99 is common sense legislation. Yes, it will be business-friendly and good for the phone companies. But the majority of consumers will benefit as well with technology that is better, and likely more affordable. It should be passed this session.



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