House Speaker Jody Richards last night unveiled his proposal to establish a "Jackson Purchase Economic Development Office." The office is part of Richards' "Harnessing Kentucky Potential" initiative for economic development.
"Communities all across our state offer unique resources and skills to the Kentucky economy. The Jackson Purchase Economic Development Office will utilize the unique gifts that this region offers, and will promote them to attract and retain economic opportunities," Richards said. "The potential is immeasurable. We only need a leader who will develop that potential."
Richards' regional Economic Development Offices will be spread across the state, with offices including the Coal Fields Economic Development Office in far Eastern Kentucky. In addition to the regional offices, other initiatives in the "Harnessing Kentucky Potential" plan include encouraging entrepreneurial expansion and repealing the Alternative Minimum Calculation (AMC), which creates an unnecessary tax burden on small businesses.
In addition to the "Harness Kentucky Potential" initiative, Richards also announced his support for maintaining the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) facilities in the region. The TVA returned more than $33 million to Kentucky last year alone, with two-thirds of which going directly to the counties they serve. Under a current federal proposal, the TVA would be forced to use its own transmission lines to supply power to its competitors, a move that could potentially destroy the public energy supplier.
"The TVA is a driving force behind economic development. It's public power - serving areas where its competitors can't make a profit. Protecting the TVA means protecting Kentucky jobs," Richards said.