What a Week
Louisville’s Weekly Zeitgeist Radar
In perhaps a bad omen just before the UK-UL basketball game, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the Louisville Arena Authority’s bonds for the Yum! Center to junk status; they are the second major credit ratings agency to do so since November. Metro Councilman Dan Johnson called for altering the arena’s lease with the UL Athletics Department to stave off default, but we’ll have to wait and see if the reluctant UL-friendly board follows suit with any action.
Gov. Steve Beshear’s office announced that over 100,000 previously uninsured Kentuckians have enrolled in health coverage through Kynect, the state’s health benefits exchange, with a huge surge enrolling ahead of the deadline for their insurance to begin on Jan. 1. As of Dec. 21, over 74,000 had enrolled in Medicaid and over 26,000 in a private insurance plan, making Kentucky’s exchange one of the most successful in the country, unless you consider this socialist tyranny.
Congress failed to extend long-term unemployment benefits before they expired Sunday, meaning more than 18,000 Kentuckians and 19,000 Hoosiers just lost access to checks averaging $1,000 a month, which have been keeping them warm and fed during the most brutal part of the year. Nationally, it’s estimated that 1.3 million are affected. Congress reconvenes next week, no doubt after a cozy Christmas spent not worrying about how they’ll be feeding their families this week.
A Kentucky Chamber of Commerce analysis reported on by the Courier-Journal found that Louisville has reached pre-recession job levels and Owensboro, Lexington and Elizabethtown are supporting more jobs than they had in 2007. Before you get too excited about the healthy outlook, Eastern Kentucky counties are still losing jobs and lowering wages, largely due to the sputtering coal industry.