Noise & Notes

On air Saturdays at 10pm.

On Noise & Notes, WFPL's Phillip M. Bailey doesn't just discuss the issues, he dissects them. From city government to national politics, Phillip has covered it all. 

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Politics
12:14 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Study: Immigration Reform Would Boost Kentucky Revenues By $23 Million

A study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates Kentucky stands to gain $23.2 million in increased revenue should Congress pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

The 50-state analysis assumes that a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country will be included in any legislative package.

That would add around 80,000 new Kentuckians who would fully participate in the state and local tax systems.

According to the study, those immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally are already paying $10.6 billion a year in state and local taxes nationwide, which is $58.8 million in Kentucky.

Supporters of immigration reform argue the added revenue demonstrates creating legal channels for the undocumented helps immigrant and native households, especially in poorer states.

"Some people would be surprised by how much undocumented immigrants already pay in taxes, including sales, property and income. But immigration reform would increase those contributions especially with income tax by creating a legal path for full compliance," says Anna Baumann, a research associate with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, a non-partisan group that studies economic issues in the state.

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Politics
10:36 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Businesses Tied to Alison Lundergan Grimes Miss State Reporting Deadline

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Creative Commons

A pair of Kentucky businesses linked to Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes failed to file their annual reports required by her office.

Earlier this week, Grimes's office announced over 156,000 companies complied with the July 1 deadline, but about 41,000—including two run by her father—had not.

From The Lexington Herald-Leader:

Grimes organized both businesses and has an ownership interest in one of them, but her father, former state Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan, took the blame Tuesday for missing the filing deadline.

Lundergan is listed as the sole officer for both businesses — Glenncase and GCL Properties — in filings with the secretary of state's office. Glenncase, in which Grimes has an ownership interest, involves 11-plus acres on New Circle Road. GCL Properties owns the Carriage House on Limestone Street.

Grimes, a Democrat, is seeking to run against Republican Mitch McConnell for U.S. Senate next year and the GOP is pouncing on this latest story.

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Politics
6:43 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Louisville Businessman Matthew Barzun Selected as U.S. Ambassador to Britain

Matthew Barzun
Credit U.S. State Department

President Obama has nominated Louisville entrepreneur Matthew Barzun to be the next U.S. ambassador to Britain.

A major fundraiser for the president, Barzun served as finance chairman for the Obama re-election campaign last fall.

The selection had been rumored since January, when the New York Times noted Barzun, a tech executive, was in the running for the coveted foreign relations position along with Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour.

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Politics
12:55 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Rand Paul Aide/Co-Author Once Belonged to Neo-Confederate Group

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Credit U.S. Senate

An aide to U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., is under scrutiny after reports surfaced that he spent over a decade as a neo-Confederate activist who led a group that advocates for southern secession from the union.

And the news could damper Paul's attempts to court minorities ahead of his rumored 2016 presidential bid.

Jack Hunter currently serves as Paul's social media director and co-wrote the book 'The Tea Party Goes to Washington" with the senator in 2010.

A conservative news site reveals Hunter was a member and chapter leader of a group called the League of the South, which advocates the southern states separate from the U.S. to form their own republic.

Hunter also worked as a radio show host who used the alter ego "Southern Avenger," wearing a Confederate flag mask. As the character, Hunter would opine on a number of issues such as celebrating the death of Abraham Lincoln and speaking against Spanish-speaking immigration.

From The Washington Free Beacon:

From 1999 to 2012, Hunter was a South Carolina radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger.” He has weighed in on issues such as racial pride and Hispanic immigration, and stated his support for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

(SNIP)

“The League of the South is an implicitly racist group in that the idealized version of the South that they promote is one which, to use their ideology, is dominated by ‘Anglo-Celtic’ culture, which is their code word for ‘white’,” said Mark Pitcavage, the director of investigative research at the ADL. The ADL said it does not necessarily classify it as a hate group.

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Politics
4:16 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Democrat Ron Leach Announces Bid for Kentucky Second Congressional District Seat

Democratic congressional candidate Ron Leach

Democrat Ron Leach is running for Kentucky’s Second Congressional District seat held by Republican Brett Guthrie in next year's election.

A 49-year-old Brandeburg, Ky. resident, Leach is a farmer and retired U.S. Army major, who served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Leach campaign will be run by Lacey Connell, who worked as a field organizer with a Democratic group that helped elect U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. They officially kick-off on July 20, but Leach launched a campaign website on Monday to collect contributions.

Leach says he is running to represent Kentuckians who have been left behind in the economy, adding members of Congress are more concerned with serving special interest groups than working families.

"These folks are not represented and we need a congressman who places his constituent's needs above lobbyists and special interest groups," he told WFPL.

This is Leach’s first run for public office, but observers have said he is a credible opponent who plans to run against Washington’s unpopularity as much as Republican incumbent Brett Guthrie’s record.

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Politics
12:14 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Louisville Public Works 'Budget Glitch' for Junk Pickup, Street Sweeping Dismissed

A plan by the Louisville Metro Council to bring back a pair of junk pickup and street sweepings in the Urban Services District will go forward despite reports that a "budget glitch" made restoration impossible.

The city used to offer those urban services four times a year within the old city limits, but the cleaning days were cut to two in 2009 as a result of the recession.

Several council members voiced frustration with Mayor Greg Fischer's administration for not using the budget surplus this year to put those services back. This June, the council allocated $400,000 to restore the pickup and sweeping, but the Public Works Department said last week it could not move the money necessary to follow the council's vote.

Public Works spokeswoman Lindsay English tells WFPL the department may have spoken too soon.

"It appeared that there was a technicality, however, that information was incorrect and the money is there," she says. "So now what Public Works is planning to do is review how we can best spend that money to help restore some of those services and investigating what the best way to spend that money will be. And we will be reporting back to Metro Council on a proposal by the end of September."

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Politics
8:40 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Vision Louisville Gives Mayor Greg Fischer Chance to Tout Local Option Sales Tax

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is inviting residents to share their big ideas at a town hall meeting this week, but the administration has an added incentive—promoting the local option sales tax.

Vision Louisville is a public forum series scheduled to take place throughout the city and is part of Fischer’s 25-year strategic plan.

The mayor hopes to gather 45,000 ideas from citizens over the next 45 days on how Louisville should develop and feel. Among the issues heard at the first public forum held last month were public transportation, quality of life and arts funding.

Many of those and other ideas being shared concentrate on economic development, and mayoral spokesman Phil Miller says Fischer believes any future for Louisville must include a look at the cost of and how to pay for large-scale development.

"Certainly the idea of a progressive Louisville where progressive projects are undertaking is tied very closely to the LIFT initiative. And I think that’s why he thinks it’s important for the future of the city,” he says.

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Politics
12:34 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Senate Candidates Decry Kentucky Democratic Party E-mail Promoting Alison Lundergan Grimes

The three other Democrats running for Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seat are criticizing their party for promoting Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in a message to supporters.

When Grimes announced earlier this week she intends to seek the Democratic nomination to run against Republican Mitch McConnell next year the state party quickly sought donations.

The Grimes campaign has yet to set up a fundraising operation, but the party can receive political contributions towards the 2014 campaign.

In a July 1 e-mail sent out by KDP finance director Jared Smith, the party says defeating McConnell "won't be easy" and asks state Democrats to help them building a grassroots effort to "make sure Alison wins."

But Owensboro contractor Ed Marksberry, Louisville music promoter Bennie J. Smith and U of L professor Greg Leitchy argue the message violates Democratic Party by-laws to stay out of primary elections, adding the party has effectively endorsed Grimes over them.

"To be honest with you it’s just a very amateurish, sophomoric move on their part. And they need to be called out for it," says Marksberry, who has officially filed to run for Senate. "And we need to move forward and get past this, and figure out what we’re going to do to give everybody else equal access, equal time and equal resources like they’ve done for Mrs. Alison Lundergan Grimes."

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Politics
12:22 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Kentucky, Indiana Lawmakers Pleased But Remain Critical of Obamacare Employer Mandate Delay

Credit Shutterstock.com

Federal lawmakers from Kentucky and Indiana are pleased with the Obama administration's decision to delay the employer mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, but Republicans argue this shows the overhaul should be repealed.

Under the law, U.S. businesses with over 50 employees must provide health insurance to their workers and was widely criticized by companies and GOP lawmakers. The mandate was scheduled to begin in 2014, but a post from the White House blog said after ongoing discussions with businesses, it will be implemented on January 1, 2015 instead.

Senators Mitch McConnell, R-Ky,, who has been a constant critic of the law, and Dan Coats, R-In., both issued statements jeering the White House's announcement as a sign the president's health care law is too costly.

Political observers quickly pointed to the decision being pushed back until after next year's mid-term elections, where it was expected to be a theme to help turnout GOP voters.

Republican Andy Barr is a freshman congressman who represents central Kentucky and ran heavily against the health care law in 2012. He says the announcement is an important temporary relief, but an acknowledgement that the Affordable Care Act— also known as Obamacare—is a "train wreck" overall.

"This a good decision for American employers and employees who are facing very costly mandates. And so while this is an important step forward we need to continue to fight to fully repeal Obamacare so that it doesn't continue to have the threat of  killing jobs," he says.

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Politics
4:30 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Kentucky U.S. Senate Race Pits Grimes Inexperience Against McConnell Unpopularity

Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

The entrance of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the race for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Mitch McConnell makes the Kentucky contest one of the most closely watched in the country.

And the early jabs appear to put up Grimes's relative inexperience against McConnell's wide unpopularity.

After meeting with supporters, Grimes announced this week she intends to seek the party's nomination to run against the GOP leader next year.

Immediately, the McConnell campaign and GOP groups mocked Grimes’s rollout as a sign the first-term secretary of state isn't prepared to run at the national level.

The amount of attention spent on poking fun at Grimes could be further evidence this race will be the nastiest in 2014. But the Grimes team argues a full campaign rollout will be active by the end of July, and the criticisms are a petty distraction.

"Alison wanted to talk with supporters and when she concluded meeting with them she was going to make her intentions know, and that's what she did. We have always said that she does plan to do a rollout across Kentucky listening to voters and talking to the families of Kentucky about this campaign," says Grimes spokesman Jonathan Hurst. "The Republicans clearly don't have any substance so this about the only thing they can use."

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