Jordan Palmer, President
Joshua Koch, Vice President of Policy & Public Relations
Lexington, KY -- “Jobs continue to be my top priority,” Governor Steve Beshear said during his “State of the Commonwealth” address on January 4. Governor Beshear stated that about 387 programs costing almost $4 billion in total over three years, in an effort to “create or retain more than 30,000 Kentucky jobs.”
The sheer cost of this “success” per job is staggering, at over $133,333 per job saved or created. Since the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics mean annual wage estimate for Kentucky was $37,970, it seems that Kentuckians are not getting a square deal with these programs. Considering that the median hourly wage estimate, a more accurate indicator, was only $14.47, it indicates that the median Kentucky worker’s annual income is closer to $29,000, a much lower figure. Judging by this number, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is currently losing over $14,000 per year per job saved or created utilizing these programs, meaning that each job is being purchased at an almost 50% markup.
Is there no other, more cost-effective way to protect jobs in Kentucky?
Currently, Kentucky law does not protect the employment of Kentucky citizens unjustly terminated for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Kentucky Equality Federation requests the Kentucky Senate, who has always opposed such a measure when proposed in the Kentucky House of Representatives, fix this loophole in human rights.
However, the Kentucky Senate has failed to act, not only to protect LGBTI people from employment discrimination, but against federal intrusion into destroying Kentucky's jobs and possibly its economy, and without legislation to sign, Governor Beshear is effectively helpless to do anything more.
Kentucky Equality Federation applauds Governor Beshear’s executive order protecting people in Kentucky Government because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Governor Beshear is an effective leader, but his ability to create and protect jobs is also dependant on the Kentucky Legislature and protecting LGBTI jobs has always been met with resistance in the Senate.
If the Kentucky Senate would join the House of Representative and the Governor about serious and cost-effective job retention, the Senate would address the growing trend by out-of-state corporations to discriminate against and wrongfully terminate LGBTI employees.
By acting, the Kentucky Senate would be much more expedient and simple than executing 387 distinct programs at an enormous cost, and it would further establish our shared Kentucky legacy of respecting human equality and dignity.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a sovereign State not directly subordinate to the federal government. Citizens of the Commonwealth should watch the "State of the Commonwealth" address, because for the daily lives of Kentuckians, it is perhaps more important that the "State of the Union."
The Commonwealth is only so sovereign however as its state Representatives and state Senators make it (just as the State of New York and the State of New Jersey are now nullifying federal intrusion and overreaching federal legislation).
The Kentucky Legislature should do the same with it comes to our economy, protecting existing jobs and extending protections for the Commonwealth's LGBTI citizens because at the end of the day we are all Kentuckians.