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Republican Primary for State Treasurer

Republican Primary for State Treasurer

Bill Goodman hosts a discussion on the issues with Allison Ball and state Rep. Kenneth Churchill Imes, Republican candidates for state treasurer.
S22 E16 Length 28:01 Premiere: 3.29.15

Republican Candidates for State Treasurer Discuss Their Goals for the Office

Candidates running in the Republican primary for Kentucky State Treasurer appeared on Monday’s edition of Kentucky Tonight on KET. Here’s a recap of what the contenders had to say about themselves and several key fiscal issues facing the commonwealth.

Allison Ball is a native of Floyd County and a bankruptcy attorney in Prestonsburg. She says her job is to help get people out of debt and get their financial houses in order, and she’s eager to do the same for Kentucky. Ball also served four years as Assistant Floyd County Attorney, prosecuting child abuse cases. Ball calls the office of Treasurer a watchdog position.

“We need somebody with a backbone, [so] you get somebody who’s been a prosecutor and somebody who’s a bankruptcy attorney,” Ball says. “I’m excited to get in there and be a watchdog for our state money.”

Kenneth Churchill Imes is a six-term state representative from Murray and vice chair of the House State Government Committee, which oversees the state pension systems. Imes is a funeral director and is the fifth generation to run his family’s funeral home. He is also a former deputy secretary for the Kentucky Natural Resources Cabinet, and has owned and operated seven different businesses.

“Being in business, you learn to balance the books,” Imes says. “So I think that the extensive experience that I’ve had personally and professionally has prepared me well for this.”

Characteristics of a Treasurer
Imes says the treasurer should be a person of integrity and have business experience. He contends state government should be run like a business and be more focused on planning for the future.

Ball says a public servant should hold the position of treasurer and do the job as a calling. She adds that the treasurer should have a financial background and a willingness to fight as a watchdog of state funds.

First Actions in Office
Both Ball and Imes say one of the first things they would do upon taking office would be to perform an audit of the treasurer’s office. Ball describes herself as a “limited government, fiscal responsibility” person, so she says she wants to ensure that state money is being spent as wisely and efficiently as possible.

Imes adds that as treasurer, he would never issue a check that the Kentucky General Assembly hasn’t authorized. He says he would also closely review all personal service and no-bid contracts made within state government.

Monitoring State Financial Matters
Ball argues that fiscal stability for the state depends on ensuring that spending is done appropriately. For example, she questions a 2014 action by Attorney General Jack Conway to target pharmaceutical company settlement funds to drug rehabilitation facilities. She contends the attorney general’s office doesn’t have the authority to allocate state money in that way.

Although he acknowledges the General Assembly’s authority over budget matters, Imes contends legislators generally don’t provide enough detail in the state budget to ensure that money is properly spent. He is also critical of how the executive and legislative branches raid targeted pools of money such as professional dues and licensing fees to help fill larger gaps in the state’s general fund.

Managing State Investments
Both candidates agree that the Kentucky Retirement Systems need better management and oversight. The State Treasurer sits on the board that monitors the teacher pension system as well as the overall state investment board and the Kentucky Lottery board.

Imes says there needs to be more transparency on those boards to ensure that investments are properly handled. He says he would use two of the non-merit positions available in the Treasurer’s office to hire individuals with investment backgrounds to help monitor those transactions. He would also advocate for outside audits of the state pension systems.

Ball says she would be a voice for conservatism and fiscal responsibility on those boards, especially for the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System. Ball also wants to explore structural changes to KTRS because she contends the way the system has been managed in the past isn’t working.

As for addressing the $14 billion unfunded liability in KTRS, Ball says she opposed a recent proposal by House Democrats to issue $3.3 billion in state bonds to help shore-up teacher pensions. She says she isn’t comfortable with a plan that would increase state debt by more than a third. Imes says he did vote for that measure when it passed the House in February, but only because he wanted to encourage the Senate to address the pension-funding problem.

Innovation and Transparency
Ball and Imes want to bring more transparency to the treasurer’s office by making more information about state spending available to the public online. Ball points to how the state of Ohio has a website with its financial information, and says she would like to find a less expensive way to replicate that for Kentucky.

Imes wants to employ social media to inform the public about state spending activities so citizens can help ensure their elected officials are operating within their constitutional boundaries.

See the video and read a recap of the Kentucky Tonight conversation with Democratic candidates for treasurer.

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Host Renee Shaw talks with her guests about voting rights and election laws. Scheduled guests: Secretary of State Michael Adams (R); Joshua A. Douglas, University of Kentucky election law professor; State Rep. Jennifer Decker, Republican from Waddy; State Rep. Buddy Wheatley, Democrat from Covington; Corey Shapiro, legal director of the ACLU of Kentucky; and James Young, former elections director in Louisville.

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Season 22 Episodes

Candidates for Governor

S22 E43 Length 56:40 Premiere Date 10.26.15

Candidates for Lieutenant Governor

S22 E42 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10.18.15

Candidates for Attorney General

S22 E41 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10.12.15

Candidates for Auditor of Public Accounts

S22 E40 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10.5.15

Candidates for Commissioner of Agriculture

S22 E39 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 9.28.15

Candidates for Secretary of State

S22 E38 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 9.21.15

Candidates for State Treasurer

S22 E37 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 9.14.15

Issues Impacting the 2015 Election

S22 E36 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 8.24.15

Health Care: A Reality Check

S22 E35 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 8.16.15

Tough Choices Ahead for State Budget

S22 E34 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 8.9.15

Jobs and Wages: Behind the Numbers

S22 E32 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 7.26.15

Tax Reform: The Issue That Won't Go Away

S22 E31 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 7.19.15

LGBT Rights and Religious Liberty

S22 E30 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 7.12.15

Postsecondary Education

S22 E29 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 7.5.15

Discussion on Public Employee Pensions

S22 E28 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 6.28.15

Education Discussion

S22 E27 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 6.21.15

Energy and the Environment

S22 E26 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 6.14.15

Transportation Issues Hit Bumpy Road

S22 E25 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 6.7.15

Analysis of the 2015 Primary

S22 E24 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 5.31.15

Kentucky Republican Governor Primary

S22 E22 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 5.10.15

Democratic Primary for State Treasurer

S22 E18 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 4.12.15

Republican Primary for State Treasurer

S22 E16 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 3.29.15

2015 Kentucky Elections

S22 E15 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 3.22.15

General Assembly Breakdown

S22 E14 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 3.15.15

2015 Ky General Assembly

S22 E13 Length 56:46 Premiere Date 2.23.15

Telephone Deregulation

S22 E11 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 2.9.15

Local Option Sales Tax

S22 E10 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 2.2.15

2015 Kentucky General Assembly

S22 E7 Length 56:48 Premiere Date 1.5.15

2015 General Assembly

S22 E6 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 12.15.14

Executive Order on Immigration

S22 E4 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11.24.14

About

Kentucky Tonight, hosted by Renee Shaw, is a public affairs discussion program broadcasted live on Monday nights at 8/7c on KET and KET.org/live.

Viewers with questions and comments may send e-mail to kytonight@ket.org or use the message form on this page. All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 1-800-494-7605.

After broadcast, Kentucky Tonight programs are available on KET.org and via podcast (iTunes or Android). Files are normally accessible within 24 hours after the television broadcast.

Kentucky Tonightwas awarded a 1997 regional Emmy by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The series was also honored with a 1995 regional Emmy nomination.

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