FRANKFORT—In an effort to reduce wasteful spending and eliminate non-vital state services, the Kentucky General Assembly announced plans this week to cut its long-standing legislative program, a move it says will help save billions each year.
According to officials, the decision to cut Kentucky's legislative bodies was reached during a difficult budget session this week. After hours of deliberation, it was agreed that the cost of financing legislators far outweighed the benefits they provided.
"Now more than ever, we must eliminate needless spending wherever possible," Senate President David Williams said at a press conference Thursday. "When we sat down to go over our budget mess, we asked ourselves, where can we safely trim back? What programs can we do away with without negatively impacting the people of this great Commonwealth? Which bloated and ineffective institutions can we no longer justify having around?"
"The answer was obvious," Williams added. "We just needed to go."
Established as a means of overseeing the passage of bills into law, the once-promising legislative program has reportedly failed to contribute to the governing of the state in any significant way since 1990. Last year alone, millions of dollars were funneled into the legislative chamber which was generally perceived by the public to be fiscally unsound considering how few citizens actually benefit in any way from its existence.
In fact, the program has gone unchecked for so long that many in Frankfort are now unable to recall what purpose legislators were originally meant to serve.
"I'm sure when it was first introduced the General Assembly seemed like a worthwhile public service that would aid vast segments of the population and play an important role in the years to come," said Tina Johnson of the watchdog group the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. "But in reality, this program has been a complete and utter failure."
"It simply doesn't work," she added. "We've been pouring taxpayer dollars into this outdated relic for far too long."
An analysis conducted last week revealed a number of troubling flaws within the long-running, heavily subsidized program, including a lack of consistent oversight, no clear objectives or goals, operating on budgetary imbalances, the persistent hiring of unqualified and selfishly motivated individuals, and a 100 percent redundancy rate among its employees.
Not only have legislators cost the state billions of dollars in misspent funds over the years, but Frankfort insiders claim they have also derailed a wide range of other government programs, from social welfare to job creation to environmental protection.
So far, reaction to the cutback has been overwhelming positive, with many across the state calling it a long-awaited step toward progress.
Still, a few legislators vehemently disagreed with Thursday's decision.
"This is outrageous," said Vernie McGaha, a Russel Springs-area resident and concerned citizen who makes lots of money, enjoys full health care benefits, and lives comfortably in a large, non-foreclosed home. "The General Assembly has always looked out for my best interests. It's always done right by me."
Added McGaha, "Without it, I'll have no choice but to exploit my extensive connections in the real estate, agricultural, religious and pharmaceutical industries to obtain honorary positions at large companies that, will compensate me generously and allow me to continue living a privileged life without contributing even a moment of my time to the society that has made it all possible - kinda like Bill Nighbert.
With apologies to The Onion. Happy April Fool's Day.