- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

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June 28

The Kentucky Standard, Bardstown, Kentucky, on new distillery:

The bourbon demand is an all-time high and the state of Kentucky is reaping the benefits. In less than a month, two new distilleries have announced plans to locate in the heart of Kentucky.



On Thursday, the “Bourbon Capital of the World” got another economic boost as Bardstown Bourbon Company announced plans to break ground on a $25 million, 45,000 square foot distillery, warehouses and visitor’s center. The 100 acre facility will be located in Nelson County Industrial Park and visible from the Blue Grass Parkway. This announcement came on the heels of Diageo, a global distilled spirits company, unveiling its own plans to build a $115 million facility and 108 million gallon distillery on 300 acres east of Shelbyville.

If you saw the artistic rendering in Friday’s edition of The Kentucky Standard, you have to agree that the Bardstown Bourbon Co. facility will be quite impressive. But more impressive is that we’ll all get to witness first-hand the creation of a new brand of bourbon made right here in Bardstown. How exciting to be welcoming a new distillery into Bardstown and Nelson County, which brings the total to five.

Everyone is just as excited about having Steve Nally back in his home state. Nally, a member of the Bourbon Hall of Fame and retired Maker’s Mark Master Distiller, had moved to the wild west - Kirby, Wyo. - to build and run that state’s first legal distillery.

“It’s a great pleasure to be back home,” said Nally on Thursday. Nally cited that the group had looked at other sites in Kentucky and Indiana but Bardstown was the perfect fit for the new distillery. The people, culture and history of Bardstown made the decision easy for President and CEO David Mandell and his bourbon making team.

The new distillery will also bring great benefits to our local economy. First, the company has pledged to use local businesses during the construction phase and will employ 35 once the facility has been built. The distillery and visitor’s center, which will focus on education and innovation of the bourbon-making process, will give tourists and bourbon connoisseurs another reason to visit and stay in the area. Company officials have also expressed possible interest in adding a small adjoining events center that would hold up to 500 people, which is desperately needed for the area.

With all the recent announcements, it’s certainly a great time to be in Kentucky, the heart of the bourbon industry and to live in the “Bourbon Capital of the World.”

Welcome into our family, Bardstown Bourbon Company.

Online:

https://www.kystandard.com

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July 1

The Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on water planning:

You never know when Mother Nature will cast an extended drought on Kentucky - never would be best, but we know better.

One only has to look back at the summer of 2008 to recall a long drought. Residents had to ration water and were only allowed to water their lawns at limited times. It wasn’t a fun time.

While there is little we can do to stop extended droughts, there are things we can do to better deal with them. The Bowling Green City Commission is being proactive in that regard.

The commission is set to consider an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the possibility of receiving water from the Barren River Reservoir in times of drought.

A 2003 study commissioned by Bowling Green Municipal Utilities evaluated different options to supplement the Bowling Green and Warren County water supply and concluded the lowest-cost option would be releases from the reservoir, which is controlled by the Corps.

The study was the start of the process of getting an agreement with the Corps for releasing water from the reservoir.

Barren River is the water source of BGMU and has sufficient flow to support water needs for the community when water flow is normal.

But during dry periods, the balance between the needs of the public and the river’s aquatic life can be stressed.

No one wants to see this happen.

That’s why it is imperative for the commission and the U.S. Corps of Engineers to come together on this issue.

The idea put forth by the commission and studied by BGMU is a wise one.

In instances of extreme drought, Barren River simply can’t supply enough water to handle a growing city such as Bowling Green.

That’s why it is imperative that this process get underway with the hope that a mutually agreeable decision be reached to supplement our city’s water supply.

Online:

https://www.bgdailynews.com

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June 29

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, on lawmakers ducking budget realities:

It’s official: The Kentucky General Assembly has a license to steal, following last week’s ruling by the state Supreme Court that it’s OK for lawmakers to plug holes in the state budget by raiding dozens of small boards and commissions created to oversee public safety.

In a 5-2 ruling, the state’s highest court upheld the right of the state legislature to seize funds from oversight groups such as the state Department of Charitable Gaming and boards that regulate doctors, nurses and building inspectors - even though such groups get no state money and exist solely on license fees their members pay.

These boards and commissions were created for public protection. They use the money to license and educate members, supervise their work, investigate misconduct and take disciplinary action to try to spare citizens from harm.

The department that oversees charitable gaming, a pastime that grosses $365 million a year, was created in 1994 after eye-popping raids on bingo halls in Louisville that found buckets of cash and rampant fund-skimming by unscrupulous - and unregulated - operators.

Yet Kentucky lawmakers for years have used such oversight groups as a public piggy bank, scooping up their money through a budget maneuver they use to suspend laws that otherwise would prevent them from doing just that. They call such maneuvers “transfers” - much like how the pickpocket transfers a wallet from your pocket to his.

In recent years, as budgets have grown tighter with lawmakers increasingly unwilling to raise revenue from the obvious source - taxes - the practice has become more egregious.

The upshot was a lengthy legal fight that ended in last week’s Supreme Court decision concluding that the law and the state Constitution give lawmakers, who draft a new budget every two years, the right to engage in this biennial feeding frenzy.

Writing for the majority, Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson said the transfers do not amount to a “surreptitious tax,” as opponents to the practice had claimed, and that lawmakers are allowed to transfer to the General Fund “surplus” funds from boards and agencies.

In a dissent, Justice Daniel J. Venters compared lawmakers to addicts seeking a fix, saying the decision enables them to continue dodging their duty.

“It is a sleight-of-hand technique for shifting the financial burden of general government while avoiding the unpalatable prospects of increasing taxes, decreasing services, or both,” he said.

And dodge they will, through a budget gimmick now sanctioned by the Supreme Court.

Online:

https://www.courier-journal.com

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