A southern televangelist is making a plea for $54 million so he can spread the word of the Lord in a brand new, private jet plane. His begging for this excessive luxury is criminal and abusive. Sadly, some poor saps will give their last dollar so this clown can get a free ride.

The beauty is, this is a free country and people can do crazy stuff like that and get away with it. On that note, some people might want to help this poor preacher man spread the word to the less fortunate and spend their money that way. They might call it “spiritual development.”

Thank God there is separation between church and state. And when will we see a tax on excessive abuses like this?

Back here in reality, Pike County just announced that RCC Big Shoal will start repaying the loan and that money will go into the non-existent economic development fund. The occupational tax was supposed to go into that fund, but that didn’t happen.

Last week, some state lawmakers were in town hammering down on AEP for their rate hikes. I agree with some of their issues but in the big picture, they probably should adjust their views.

The PSC should have never allowed AEP to charge their customers to pay for the retirement of the Big Sandy plant. But, ironically, that was part of the deal during the Beshear administration. Some of the other fees, while painful, may not be as bad as we were led to believe.

AEP claims that their customer base has depleted because of the declining job market and since the coal mines have gone away, there is less power being used, so AEP is losing money. And, because they are governed to maintain a specific income threshold, AEP was forced to institute a rate adjustment, which included some money for economic development.

I asked the lawmakers: If private companies, like AEP, are not doing economic development and counties, like Pike, that are a financial mess are not providing funding for economic development, then who will?

The lawmakers’ contention is that AEP is making too much money and they need to cut their perks, salaries, benefits, bonuses etc. AEP is private, and the lawmakers are making a big stink about how they spend their profits. But our county is a disaster, partly from their own doing and they choose to do nothing. Fix the county, fix the economic outlook.

AEP has taken the economic development money that they collected from us, matched it and put it to good use. They invested in One East Kentucky, an organization that is clearing the path for new jobs in the region. AEP also invested in the new aluminum plant in Ashland and the battery plant here in Pike County.

These two manufacturing plants, as well as Silver Liner and AppHarvest will create jobs and bring people to the region. They will also have an insatiable appetite for electricity. In the long run, AEP will have a larger customer base and the investments they made will even out the cost or electricity to all. This could mean, according to AEP, our rates should go down.

I urge the lawmakers to see how they can partner up with private companies like AEP, that are actually creating jobs and help to facilitate growth. The sting of the rate hikes hurt a lot of people. But if the lawmakers did their jobs in the first place and planned for the downturn of coal, there would be more jobs and opportunity. Instead they are too worried how private companies spend their profits.

Maybe that fine preacher could up the ante and peel off a few million out of his spiritual fund and help with economic development right here.

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