Opinion: Kentucky tax breaks for Ark park with cuts in education a bad idea

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

In one of the most spectacularly mis-prioritized state budgets in recent memory, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D), is suggesting over $50 million in cuts to education – while preserving $43 million in tax breaks for the Ark Encounter, a creationist amusement park centered around a life-sized Noah’s Ark. The park is sponsored by Answers In Genesis, a non-profit organization that promotes a “literalist” interpretation of the Book of Genesis while promoting an anti-evolution (and other sciences) agenda.

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Lankster said:
How about this: the proponents *know* their report is going to be examined closely so they have an incentive to be at least somewhat reasonable.

You don't have history on your side on that one. Proponents of pretty much every one of these types of projects overstate the benefits and understate the costs. When in doubt, aim high on benefits and low on costs. Historically no one cares when the actual numbers come in (assuming you are even able to gather all of the relevant data to verify it). So why not aim high?

No one disputes they put forward a favorable opinion! The question is whether they have a better incentive to be reasonable than some "independent" group that reports truisms as a reason to oppose it.

Lankster said:
Dude, unless you are willing to state there is a possibility that 500 people can indeed build a 1500 mile pipeline, the above is just rhetoric.

That's 500 potential jobs created due to this project. Not total people required to complete the project. Pretty significant difference.

The question is whether they have a better incentive to be reasonable than some "independent" group that reports truisms as a reason to oppose it.

You're misrepresenting what the report suggests. That the report simply points out that there would be no noticeable impact on overall US unemployment numbers does not discount their specific findings regarding number of jobs created due to the project.

Last edited by djDaemon,

Brandon | Facebook

What incentive do they have to put forth a reasonable opinion? Contrary to your statement, their report isn't going to be examined closely. People who are in favor of the project will use the optomistic numbers and those against it will use the pessimistic numbers. That is what happens with these types of projects.

In the end, it won't matter from what I have seen as the folks in the energy industry believe the project will be approved. Political theater in an election year.

So you're not counting people who work on this pipeline if they were previously employed?

Please share with us how you are counting the jobs *created* by this project. What counts and what doesn't?

While you're at it, also tell me why I should give a fig about your opinion as clearly you are a proponent for your views!

What incentive do they have to put forth a reasonable opinion?Contrary to your statement, their report isn't going to be examined closely.

I believe the fact that a Cornell group "studied" the report is evidence against that! (My guess is you can find a ton of stories that looked at it.)

But, again, you've left out half the point--what incentive does the opposing group have to be reasonable?

Also, I'd like to have the boss that doesn't care how reasonable my reports are!

That the report simply points out that there would be no noticeable impact on overall US unemployment numbers ...

Why can you not admit this is a silly truism?

Last edited by Lankster,

The point of the studies, as I understand it, is to examine the net quantity of jobs created by the project. This is pretty common stuff.

I don't know that I have a strong opinion on KXL. I see no reason why the pipeline shouldn't be built, though I don't know that I've heard the entirety of the opposition (or either side, for that matter).

That said, I never suggested you should care about my opinion. Nor did I ever suggest the non-impact on unemployment percentage wasn't a truism. That it's an obvious truism is simply not relevant to the discussion, no matter how much you assert as much.


Brandon | Facebook

That was a joke about not caring about your opinion!

What is your definition of "net quantities of jobs created"? It seems to me by looking at the Cornell report (no one has produced the other report...) they are considering the total number of jobs needed to complete the project. I'm not sure how you would count otherwise...?

That it's an obvious truism is simply not relevant to the discussion, no matter how much you assert as much.

The Cornell group used it to dispute the proponent report. We can agree it has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

The Cornell report is based on TransCanada's project estimates, and I don't have time to look into TransCanada's report in depth.

However, if you're correct that the Cornell report indicates the total number of jobs needed, and not the net number created, the project may be even less appealing in terms of job creation. After all, at least some of the man-hours needed for the job will come from TransCanada's current employees.

An interesting point covered in Cornell's report is that TransCanada's report makes estimates based on the inclusion of a nearly 300 mile stretch of pipeline that is already complete and in operation. That stretch accounts for almost 14% of the entire pipeline project. That sort of puts some holes in your "they wouldn't dare be misleading" theory.


Brandon | Facebook

rollergator's avatar

For once I get to play the "conservative pundit" (puts on Cain-bert hat). Estimates of jobs created typically account for those people the company would be *likely to hire* should a project get the green-light. Typically, it's wise to use independent third-party people to make those guesses ("estimate" to me in cases like this implies a level of scientific rigor which is simply not possible in a real-world environment). But the point I'd like to make is that these estimates rarely if ever are inclusive of jobs created outside the company by virtue of a large undertaking - the grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels that feed and house the workers on the pipeline are going to hire some addidtional help themselves to deal with the influx of business. Second-hand job creation, if you will....

Not taking a stand on the Ark or Keystone here, just pointing out one potential bias in the estimates of jobs created...

...estimates based on the inclusion of a nearly 300 mile stretch of pipeline that is already complete and in operation.

My 1500 mile figure I've used since the beginning is all proposed, not completed, existing pipeline. If you want to claim Transcanada is misleading, I'd guess you would have to actually look at their report...or take the word of a bunch of biased hacks!

Gator--Actually I assumed the 20k number included these secondary effects, while the Cornell study wanted to focus only on "direct" jobs. But whatever, no doubt you are correct--far more economic activity will happen to support the actual pipeline workers.

Last edited by Lankster,

As I understand it, the 20,000 jobs number is based on the entire pipeline, including the already-completed stretch. Can you point me to where TransCanada's report indicates this is not the case?


Brandon | Facebook

Would this be a good time to let you two duke it out on the foreign and domestic policy implications of this project?

For example, will Canada really ship this oil to China? What message does denying this pipeline send to an American populace who overwhelmingly support obtaining our energy close to home versus relying on the Middle East? Why would our president block a proven energy source (oil) while simultaneously throwing tax dollars at dream technologies that are not ready (Solyndra, et al)?

You guys are doing such a good job (I mean this sincerely)with your debate, that I would certainly like to see the topic expand to other pertinent issues unrelated to jobs/tax revenues of the project.

It seems to me that blocking this project has greater meaning than just job creation. While obviously a political ploy, it also gives great insight to the values of the man who makes these decisions.

Would you two care to comment...or do you want to continue go back and forth on which biased report is more believable? Needless to say, I am with Lankster. But I always appreciate Daemon's counterargument(s).

Jeff's avatar

Making it about the president and politics I think is completely disingenuous, and frankly not intelligent discourse. In fact, it makes it more about your politics.

What you're doing is trying to distill it down to a simple, black and white issue, and when the outcome is not what you agree with, it's a character flaw of the politician. That has pretty much been the way of the GOP race amongst the candidates, and we haven't even got to a winner vs. the president discussion yet.

If the president said he was uncomfortable with the speed at which the issue was being pushed, without due diligence over environmental concerns, that to me is the executive branch fulfilling its function. Its function is not to rubber stamp every little thing a company wants to do without considering everything at stake. Making it about jobs is one-dimensional and irresponsible. "No brainer" indeed.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Apparently the 20k doesn't include secondary jobs, those were direct jobs--indirect were estimated at 118K!

Whatever. This has nothing to do with the merits of the project anyway. The next question would be the length of the jobs created! I haven't seen the TransCanada report, but certainly don't dispute they use rosy numbers for their side. But the Cornell report is just as bad (I think worse, clearly...). Turns out Brigid Rowan, one of the authors of the Cornell paper, is not only on the Canadian Greenpeace Board, but is in fact the treasurer of Greenpeace Canada.

If you'd like to argue your points, Aamilj, go ahead. (I would agree opposing this project is "astoundingly stupid" as someone said.) I'm pretty much done.

Jeff said: Making it about the president and politics I think is completely disingenuous, and frankly not intelligent discourse. In fact, it makes it more about your politics.

Jeff:

I'm not sure who you are addressing with this take, but I'll opine. The president made it about politics. Not anybody on here. Even liberal pundits are accusing the president of making this decision based purely on politics to appease his environmental base.

The first clue is Obama blaming Republicans for trying to rush his decision in spite of the fact that this pipeline has been studied for 3 years, determined to be low-risk, and will be just another pipeline among 25,000 miles of pipeline already in place throughout our country. BTW, if we strung all the pipeline we currently have in this country, it would circle the planet at the equator.

What you're doing is trying to distill it down to a simple, black and white issue, and when the outcome is not what you agree with, it's a character flaw of the politician. That has pretty much been the way of the GOP race amongst the candidates, and we haven't even got to a winner vs. the president discussion yet.

Who is "you?" Two posters have have been arguing economics. I asked that we expand the conversation to include foreign and domestic implications. If anything, we are doing the opposite of what you accuse? We are expanding the conversation to other issues. This is the opposite of distill.

If the president said he was uncomfortable with the speed at which the issue was being pushed, without due diligence over environmental concerns, that to me is the executive branch fulfilling its function. Its function is not to rubber stamp every little thing a company wants to do without considering everything at stake. Making it about jobs is one-dimensional and irresponsible. "No brainer" indeed.

Obama squandered yet another opportunity to back up his empty rhetoric that he would take the necessary steps toward achieving energy independence, and that he'd support initiatives which promote domestic economic growth. If the environmental impact studies that began in 2008 have not yielded findings which detail the risks of proceeding with this project, then further delays and studies are unwarranted and Obama should have supported this initiative. The economic and energy-independence benefits far outweigh the minute risks that the environmental leftists have trumpeted in their efforts to postpone a decision until after the 2012 election.

Our lives, livelihoods and futures are fundamentally dependent on energy. And, the cheaper and more reliable that energy, the better off we are. Enviros don't care about this basic truth, they only care about something that doesn't care back - the "environment."

Obama likes to talk about investing for the future. This was just the reverse. The Keystone XL pipeline would have secured oil supplies to the southern U.S. for decades to come. It was a win-win situation with jobs for construction workers, producers, refiners and the thousands of other secondary and tertiary jobs. Instead we now have the prospect of continental energy supplies going to China while oil is being imported to the U.S. from Central America and the Middle East. In tankers no less. What's wrong with this picture? ;)

President Obama likes to work in the abstract, but academic theory doesn't put people to work unless, of course, you're the teacher. Which is why we have a growing government, mountains of new regulations and threats of new taxes. But, no new oil pipeline.
The Keystone project is shovel ready and won't cost the government one dollar. It will provide much needed jobs and provide more energy from a friendly nation. So what's the problem?

Last edited by Aamilj,
Jeff's avatar

You know that I rarely read your posts, right? Your word economy is awful.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

kpjb's avatar

Maybe in the next version of the forums you can make it like twitter... if you can't respond in 140 characters you need to learn how to edit your thoughts.


Hi

Jeff's avatar

You'll just be happy to know you can make +1's official (like this). There is an entirely new level of awesomesauce coming after that, but I have to hold on to it for a few weeks...

Last edited by Jeff,

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

+1 :)


And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

You know that I rarely read your posts, right?

That is fairly obvious for a lot of people...not just you. Otherwise they would know that 3 years of environmental studies, and an equator's worth of pipelines on our soil, have found zero significant environmental impact for this project. Nobody would never make a comment that they support the president who thinks 3 years of studying is "moving too fast." And there is no way anyone could make a statement that the USA does not "artificially" limit jobs.

Three (3) YEARS of environmental studies have found nada. And this STILL is not fast enough for our president and those who support his policies. And the same people who support these policies complain when our jobs go over seas. ;)

When 140 words is too much and folks are clamoring for the "+1" system to make it even easier, any wonder that the average voter is unaware of what is happening?

I don't think you need the "+1" system. Shutting down threads when others disagree has worked so well in the past. ;)

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