The Spoils System Needs an Overhaul (4/9/09)
Last month, Kentucky's legislators divvied up more than $440 million in federal road construction stimulus money. So which counties got the lion's share?
If you guessed Jefferson - home of nearly 17% of the state's population - you'd be wrong. We got a little over 36 million - only about 8% of the federal cash.
So where did it go? Well, Clinton, McCreary, Monroe and Whitley counties bagged over 80 million dollars - over 18% of the total. Even though their combined population is less than 78,000.
How is this possible? A cynic might point out that those four counties all reside in the district represented by Republican Senate President David Williams.
But this isn't a partisan gripe. Senate Minority Leader Ed Worley - a Democrat - scored second in the money-grab, securing over 59 million dollars for three small counties in his district.
This is crazy. There's no good reason seven sparsely populated rural counties should get nearly $700 per capita in road construction money, while the county with the most people and the most traffic gets only 50 bucks.
Wiser leaders would understand the value of keeping the state's primary economic engine finely tuned. But in the Kentucky legislature, political games still seem to trump wisdom and responsible governing every time.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...point of View.