The challenges from the COVID pandemic will dominate the Kentucky legislature next month for good reason.

However, lawmakers can no longer ignore the longer-term issues facing the state. There's simply too much ground to make up.

In 1999, Kentucky's per capita income was 86% of the national average. Last year it was only 73%.

40 years ago, Kentucky was essentially as wealthy as North Carolina and Tennessee. Their growth has far outpaced Kentucky's since then.

Anyone visiting Nashville or Charlotte has seen the difference in their economic trajectories compared to ours.

Why Kentucky couldn't keep pace is complex.

One distinction is clear. Those states more closely adhere to principles of limited government and economic freedom, while Kentucky clings to big government redistribution.

Our government spending is not only higher per capita than Tennessee but also higher than New Jersey and Illinois.

Only five states have heavier income-tax burdens.

We're one of the most indebted states in the nation.

Kentucky's disastrous financial profile is more like a "blue state" train wreck than a fiscally responsible "red state."

We will lag behind competitor states until we get our fiscal house in order.

Kentucky needs a clean break from the idea government will deliver prosperity. States embracing limited government are the ones that have delivered for their citizens.

I'm Andrew McNeill, from the Bluegrass Institute, and that's my Point of View.

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