It has come time to pity Northern Kentucky's statehouse Republicans, especially the region's four state senators.
With a Republican in the Governor's Mansion for the first time since 1971, the GOP stronghold of Northern Kentucky was going to be rewarded, and rewarded big.
The senators - Katie Stine, Dick Roeding, Jack Westwood and Damon Thayer - were going to see to it that Gov. Ernie Fletcher took care of the region that gave him such a huge margin in the 2003 election.
And for the most part, they did, particularly when it came to Northern Kentucky University.
Democrats have for years been trying to squeeze money out of Frankfort for a new arena at NKU. They pretty much had the deal done about 10 years ago. But when most of the region's lawmakers voted against Gov. Wallace Wilkinson's education reform act - known as KERA - money for the arena was yanked and given to Murray State.
And local GOP lawmakers haven't always been warm to past Democratic administrations that tried to bestow money on NKU. Some Republicans were so lukewarm to the $38 million science building funded by Gov. Paul Patton they actually voted against the budget.
But the political winds shifted in December, when Fletcher took office. The senators were together, and working with the governor, they were going to deliver.
"This governor gets it," Roeding, the No. 2 ranking Senate Republican, proclaimed after Fletcher delivered a budget that proposed spending about $100 million at NKU, with almost half going for a new arena.
But lawmakers, hung up on the details of Fletcher's very detailed tax modernization reform plan, couldn't agree on a budget during the legislative session. A new fiscal year began Thursday without a spending plan in place. So Fletcher came up with his own plan, one that has no money for NKU or any other major projects.
Neither party is blameless in the budget impasse. Both sides are convinced the other is holding out on an agreement so as to gain political traction for the November elections.
But the time for politics is over. Fletcher and lawmakers from both parties applauded House Majority Caucus Chairman Jim Callahan, the Wilder Democrat, when he stood recently with Republican Rep. Jon Draud of Edgewood in calling for an end to the stalemate.
Frankfort should be listening to Callahan now. Pass a budget, he says, and deal with Fletcher's tax-reform plan in next year's session. That way money for NKU and other projects and priorities becomes available and tax modernization can be debated in early 2005.
It does not appear, however, that there is much will for Callahan's plan. But cry not for the Republicans who hoped to shed their labels as obstructionists by delivering for NKU.
Save your tears for NKU and its students. They are the ones who are really losing out.
NEW BLACK POWER
Greater Cincinnati's new black power
Complexion and gender have changed in 30 years
Des Bracey, director of Over-the-Rhine initiative for Cincinnati Center City Development Corp.
Tony Brown, president and CEO, Uptown Consortium
Phillip Cox, chairman of Cincinnati Bell
Spencer Crew, executive director and CEO, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Alton Frailey, superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools
Valerie Lemmie, City manager of Cincinnati
Marvin Lewis, head coach, Cincinnati Bengals
Florence Newell, board president, Cincinnati Public Schools
Denise Porter, postmaster of Cincinnati
Alicia Reece, vice mayor of Cincinnati
Janet Reid, chair of trustees, Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce
John Watkins, vice chair for business development at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Banks ban hats, shades
Planes, terrains and automobiles
Ohio wary of decree on coal
School proposal includes tax hike
IN THE TRISTATE
Teens get exposure to law enforcement
Fireworks, food and fun
One ticket matched $290M jackpot
School meals under scrutiny
Parish priest called verbally abusive
Clermont County efforts connect with sacrifices of U.S. soldiers
Public safety briefs
Crowley: Promises slow in coming for NKU projects
Bronson: Hate-America crowd has its own picnic
Good Things Happening
Good Things Happening in Kentucky
James Amann took pride in work and Navy service
Louis Geiman, 89, an expert stonemason
Clarence Peters, 85, long-time Natorp's worker
Northern Kentucky News in Brief
Miss America 2000 regroups after death
N.Ky. emergency crews call for updated radios
Suit challenges juvenile offenders' placements
After wife's death, dad turning to priesthood
Ky. 16 awaits funding
Sara Lee nears end of tax break
Fort Thomas doesn't have law on scooters
Northern Kentucky Week in Review
Kentucky Public safety