Lincoln Chamber has breakfast with Rep. Worley and Sen. Ford

May 27, 2004|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - Members of the Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce gathered Wednesday morning for breakfast with guest speakers Sen. Ed Worley, D-Richmond, and Rep. Danny Ford, R-Mount Vernon, of the state legislature.

Among their coffee and eggs, members brought tough questions to the table regarding the skyrocketing cost of health care, the state budget and education finance reform.

"The goal of the Chamber of Commerce in sponsoring this event is not to promote a particular policy agenda but rather to educate citizens and constituents so that they in turn can make informed judgments regarding their legislators and their actions," said event co-organizer Dr. Naren James.

One topic discussed was the possibility of opening Kentucky's borders to gambling in order to increase revenue within the state.

"The riverboats lining our shores do more gross revenue than all of the racetracks in all of the United States," said Worley. He cited their net profit of approximately $2 billion a year and said he believes the issue should be put to the ballot for citizens to decide.


"The people of Kentucky are starting to realize that Indiana is gathering $350 million in net taxes from the people of Kentucky."

"There's a lot of places to find money, but I don't think it's in casino gambling," said Ford, who said the negative affects would outweigh the cash flow.

Why was there no state budget?

James questioned the speakers as to why there was no state budget passed by the legislature.

"The budget process was stopped because of politics," said Ford. "The man sitting in the speaker's chair doesn't realize the governor's race is over. ... This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. This is an issue of those people who are in a position to make a decision holding the members hostage."

Worley said the governor had "overly ambitious" budget ideas when entering office. "He never really had a handle on his tax plan ... It's been a moving target all along because he's somewhat new."

Despite some polite disagreements, both Worley and Ford said the debate at the breakfast was productive.

"This is what makes good government. I might not agree with some of your issues, and you might not agree with me, but we've come to the best place to debate them," said Worley.

Those concerns voiced in Lincoln County have been heard elsewhere, said Worley.

"The troubles of the people of Lincoln County are the same problems across the state," said Worley. "Education funding, taxes, the cost of health care."

Ford said such debates are just as helpful to him as to the county, improving relationships with his constituents.

"I think that we do gain something, seeing what our people are thinking about issues, and it lets us explain our positions."

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