By Adam Beam, Associated Press
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Just south of Monroe County, between the Kentucky border and a meandering stream called Chicken Branch, sits 199 acres of Tennessee farmland owned by Republican candidate for governor James Comer.
Across the border in Kentucky is another 250 acre swath of Comer’s land, except this land is worth $122,000 less than its Tennessee counterpart. In fact, all of Comer’s Tennessee land is worth about $1,000 more per acre than his Kentucky land, and Comer says he knows why.
“They have elected a Republican governor who is focused on passing a pro-business agenda,” Comer said. “Tennessee has already done all the things that I want to do in Kentucky.”
While the Republican candidates for governor have slogans like “Putting Kentucky First” and “Fighting to defend our Kentucky values,” they look to Tennessee as a model for their potential administrations. Tennessee has passed laws banning mandatory union membership and limiting how much money people can win in civil lawsuits against corporations. And the state has no personal income tax, aside from a 6 percent tax on earnings from stocks and bonds.
Kentucky’s Democratic governor, who isn’t seeking re-election because of term limits, finds much to ridicule in the GOP contenders’ neighbor-envy.
“I would suggest (all the Republican candidates) move to Tennessee,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “I think Kentuckians really would rather be Kentuckians because they don’t like Tennessee really well.”