Kacey Musgraves is a new country music sensation.  Her opening number, “Blowing Smoke” goes like:

Between the lunch and dinner rush
Kelly caught that out bound bus for Vegas.
And we’re all out here talkin trash, makin bets,
Lips wrapped round our cigarettes.
She always thought she was too good to be a waitress.

We all say that we’ll quit someday
When our ship comes in we’ll just sail away.
But we’re just blowin smoke.
We’re just blowin smoke.
Out here goin broke.
Yea we’re just blowin…

Kacey goes on singing; crooning about all the waitresses at that restaurant who essentially are living false dreams and broken promises.  In other words, they are just “blowin’ smoke.”

Maybe the Kentucky version of this song should have a final verse about some state leaders “blowin’ smoke.”

I mean you remember.  The Governor and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, citing no money, slashed child care and kinship supports for Kentucky’s families.

Since April 1, no new families have been able to receive child care assistance or apply for the Kinship Care Program, which provides financial support to non-parental, relative caregivers, like grandparents. In addition, the state raised income eligibility limits for child care assistance from 150 percent to 100 percent of the poverty level, causing 8,700 families to lose child care assistance each month.

It is a decision that voices from across the Commonwealth know is a bad decision for kids and families today and a bad one for Kentucky’s bottom line tomorrow.

Interesting, isn’t it?  While the state cannot find dollars for the youngest children in Kentucky, the Office of the Governor just announced a $70.6 million surplus and reserved $45 million of surplus to cover government expenses in FY 14.  And $25.6 million was allocated for the Budget Reserve Trust Fund.  The Governor also recently approved $800,000 in tax incentives to the producers of the bourbon, Angel’s Envy. And finally, that nonexistent money is being spent on new business efforts such as the newly created Office of Entrepreneurship.

While the state says it has no money, it seems to have money for other efforts – government expenses; businesses; and bourbon.  Just not child care and kinship care.

Cuts to child care subsidies are forcing some families to make no-win decisions; including quitting their jobs since they cannot afford child care or leaving their children in inadequate and potentially unsafe care settings that put the children at risk of harm. Cuts to kinship care subsidies are making it harder for grandparents and other relatives to help kids recover from abuse or neglect and will drive more kids into the foster care system, which is more expensive and leads to worse outcomes for children.  In other words, both of these policy decisions are bad for kids and bad for the state’s bottom line.

When it comes to early childhood, could it be that the Governor, like that band of waitresses in the Musgraves’ tune, is just “blowin’ smoke?”