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In My Opinion ... by Ron Phillips
In March 21 Issue
Russell County News

Earmarks are not necessarily a bad thing’ Earmarks are not necessarily a bad thing was basically what was said in a recent reply back to me from Congressman, Ed Whitfield. I think we all can agree that chocolate isn’t necessarily a bad thing either unless you eat a pound per day.

In My Opinion, our country and our state has to go on a diet. Our legislative leaders need to understand that our current system is broken and the only way to fix it is stop the current practice of hiding “Pork” in the Bills being rushed through Congress. Until a new system is adopted, we have to ‘Stop Earmarks’.

I have provided below, a copy of the letter dated March 9, 2009. I think it best that you read the letter and draw your own conclusions.


Dear Mr. Phillips:

Thank you for contacting me regarding Congressional "earmarks" and economic development strategies, including tax incentives, to encourage growth in our Kentucky communities. Both of these topics have received a lot of attention lately, and rightly so.

I have heard from several Kentuckians who are critical of federal funding for local projects, commonly referred to in the media as "earmarks." Although they are widely criticized, I don't think earmarks necessarily are a bad thing. In fact, for those of us representing rural areas, this often is the only real opportunity to get funding for important projects back home. These have included money for floodwall repairs, dam safety work, facilities at Ft. Campbell, and health screening of workers at the Department of Energy's uranium enrichment plant.

Regrettably, there does seem to be serious abuse of the opportunity with the resulting negative impact on the federal deficit. Like you, when I hear reports of earmarks for things like studies of hog odor or buildings named for Members of Congress, I am outraged. Not only is the abuse of earmarks a problem, but the fact that a very few Members of Congress control virtually all of the funding is egregious. To that end, I believe that the best way to confront this issue is to create an equitable system that make the process more fair, transparent, and accountable to the American people.

I understand and respect that some will view this differently. As Congress prepares to begin the Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations process, it is my hope that more transparency will be brought to the Congressional earmark process and to our government as a whole. Please know that I will be working toward that goal, while also working to reduce the abuse of frivolous earmarks that are a waste of taxpayers' dollars.

With regard to economic development in our Kentucky communities, I am doing everything I can as your federal representative to explore ways the federal government can help with job creation. Of course, local economic development agencies as well as the State also have a key role to play in job creation. As you mentioned in your letter, one of the biggest attractions for business to locate in a particular area is the tax benefit the company can receive, and those tax benefits are mostly provided by local and State governments. If you have not already done so, I encourage-you to contact Governor Beshear or your State Representative and Senator in Frankfort to discuss your support for economic development initiatives. Please rest assured, I will continue to work with local and state officials to help attract new businesses to our District.

Representing the First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives is truly an honor. I recognize that my voice is only here in Washington to represent my constituents. For this reason, your thoughts and opinions are of critical importance. I sincerely appreciate your comments and look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Sincerely,

Ed Whitfield Member of Congress


I am grateful for Congressman Whitfield’s reply and we all must support him in his efforts to represent the First Congressional District here in Kentucky.

This also means communicating with him. He needs to hear from all of us and here is how you do it….

E-mail him at www.whitfield.house.gov/contact or call his office 800-328-5629 or you can write him at his Washington Office at 2411 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515.

May God bless…

Ron Phillips

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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P.O. Box 190
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Russell Springs KY 42642
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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