I was interested in the following numbers from Mr. Roth's article (I've added the population Stats myself):
|Status||Country/State||GDP in USD||Population (est)|
Kentucky has a bigger economy than either Israel or Ireland. Israel, while still suffering the aftereffects of the most recent recession, still has the healthiest economy in the Middle East. Ireland is the growing dynamo of the EU, with low taxes and excellent industry growth. We earn more GDP per person (about $31000 per person) than even the United Kingdom ($25150).
Kentucky's GDP per person is better than any of these economies, yet we are one of the poorest states in dollars of effective government services per person, especially personal education. I don't know if it's poor management or poor expectations, but it's disappointing to see just how much wealth (and by that wealth, tax base) the state really generates, and yet it can't deliver the services we need while taxing at a very reasonable level.
This is hardly a call for more taxes. There is already more than enough tax revenue to fund good services, with minor exceptions (primarily in higher education). That tax revenue usage simply stinks. It's not a Democrat problem or a Republican problem, and that means I don't know if Kentucky can fix it.
One can hope.