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Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says layoffs, increases in license fees and several other options are all “on the table” as he drafts the city budget for the next fiscal year.

On WFPL’s State of Affairs Thursday, Fischer discussed: the city budget; Metro Government’s response to recent industrial accidents in Rubbertown and Butchertown; the future of Whiskey Row; and his thoughts on Metro Council discretionary spending. You can listen to the full interview here.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul continued his book tour this week, appearing on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The 15-minute interview (in three parts—1,2,3) covers current issues and the philosophical differences on government between Stewart and Paul. The second part, specifically, deals with the cause and effects of the recession, and whether budget crises federally and in the states are the result of government overspending or the economic slump.

Democratic consultant Paul Begala has penned an op-ed for The Daily Beast arguing that the small government rhetoric of Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, and Representative Hal Rogers is hypocritical, given Kentucky’s dependence on federal money.

Take Kentucky, please. Kentucky has given us Makers Mark bourbon, Churchill Downs, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Kentucky has also given us Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, tea party favorite Sen. Rand Paul and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers. While Rogers was once dubbed the “Prince of Pork” and McConnell has hauled so much pork he’s at risk for trichinosis, they are now converts to Sen. Paul’s anti-government gospel.  McConnell says President Obama’s new budget is “unserious” and “irresponsible” because it merely cuts projected deficits by $1.1 trillion.  “The people who voted for a new direction in November have a five-word response,” McConnell said, “We don’t have the money.”

Fair enough.  So here’s my two-word response: Defund Kentucky. Cut it off the federal dole. Kentucky is a welfare state to begin with. The conservative Tax Foundation says the Bluegrass State received $1.51 back from Washington for every dollar it paid in federal taxes in 2005 (the most recent data I could find on the Tax Foundation’s website.)  We need to listen to the people of Kentucky. They don’t want any more federal spending in their state—and they certainly must be appalled by the notion that they’re a bunch of welfare queens, living off the taxes paid by blue states like California(which only gets 81 cents back on the dollar), Connecticut (69 cents), Illinois (75 cents) and New York (79 cents).

The issue was briefly raised during Paul’s race for the U.S. Senate. In recent years, we’ve seen many rural writers and advocates take increasingly bold stands against federal program cuts. From Post Office closures to poorly-expanded internet access, rural areas often see the effects of altered spending first. Of course, Louisville benefits from federal spending as well. Many previously-proud earmark earners say now is the time to end the process and close the deficit. Others, however, argue that in times of recession, a balanced budget should not be a high priority. When asked about the cuts in various federal budget proposals in the House, Third District Congressman John Yarmuth told WFPL:

“A lot of us, for whom some of these cuts the Republicans have proposed and even cuts like the ones the Obama administration has proposed would be much more acceptable if we didn’t have 10% unemployment and so many people suffering.”

What are your thoughts on how to square rural difficulties with small-government politics?

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has made a few headlines (including this one) over the last week.

The freshman Republican discussed his possible interest in running for the president. He also introduced a plan to cut $500 billion from the federal budget.

Like everything Paul does, these latest steps have brought out commentaries that run the gamut from enthusiastic support to fervent detraction. It’s the budget plan, though, that’s drawing some of the most varied criticism. The blog Barefoot and Progressive (if the name doesn’t give it away, the site is often critical of Paul) has documented several of the most recent criticisms from inside Paul’s own chamber of congress. First, Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) sent Paul a letter saying the proposed cuts to the FAA would block modernization efforts, among other things. Next, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he disagrees with Paul on foreign aid.

The Hill has a rundown of Paul’s changing relationship with his colleagues. He’ll introduce one of those colleagues, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the Jefferson County Republican Party’s Lincoln Days dinner Saturday night.

Freshman Kentucky Senator Rand Paul continues his push to cut $500 billion from the federal budget.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Paul, a Republican, spoke for the Tea Party Caucus  “Bring on the cuts! And then, bring on more!”

Paul’s budget plan would cut billions from the departments of education, housing and agriculture, among others. It puts him and his Tea Party Caucus (which is a minority in the Senate and in the GOP) at odds with both major parties, which are championing different spending plans.

Republican Senator Rand Paul has released his plan to cut $500 billion from the federal budget. It keeps Medicaid and Medicare untouched, but eliminates HUD and slashes transportation spending, the CDC, NIH, EPA and other agencies.

The plan is unlikely to pass both chambers of Congress.

CN2 has the bullet points.

Third District Congressman John Yarmuth is on the House Budget Committee. He has introduced a bill to the panel that would reverse a rule change that gives the budget chair the option to exercise significant power.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will soon address a General Assembly committee to support a state bill that would encourage federal lawmakers to balance the U.S. budget. Historians and economists still debate whether it would be wise to balance the federal budget in poor economic times.

While they may not support the final spending bill, Senators Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell still put in earmarks. Here are their requests:

Will 2011 Be Like 1995? With Senator Mitch McConnell opposing the omnibus budget bill, Politico says it could be:

Beyond the theatrics, the Republicans shift does harden the political lines against the giant spending bill and makes it more of an uphill fight to get to the 60 votes needed to cut off debate. Moreover by embracing a two month CR—even shorter than some House Republicans have proposed—McConnell is already looking past the Democrats own fallback position: a full-year, stripped-down spending resolution approved by the House last week.

This could be an alarming scenario for the White House, setting up a potential “shut-down-the-government” spending confrontation with newly empowered Republicans early next year.


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