A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Anna Baumann: How are Kentucky workers faring this Labor Day; where are quality jobs families need?

The longest economic recovery on record and a state unemployment rate of 4.3% sounds like a strong foundation for Kentuckians’ prosperity. But a close look at the numbers this Labor Day shows an economy where many Kentucky communities still lack jobs, especially quality jobs families need to thrive. When you take into account the many still-sidelined workers the official unemployment rate doesn’t...

Budget agreement includes cuts, full pension contributions and some new revenue

By Ashley Spalding Kentucky Center for Economic Policy The state budget passed Monday by the General Assembly for fiscal years 2019 and 2020 is very similar to the House’s budget proposal. Like the House proposal, the budget agreement – and accompanying revenue bill – includes substantial cuts in many areas but also raises a small amount of revenue and relies heavily on fund transfers in order...

Commentary: Year-end state revenue shortfall underscores need for correct actions on tax reform

By Anna Baumann Special to KyForward Kentucky ended the 2017 fiscal year with $138.5 million less in General Fund revenue than economists predicted would be collected. The shortfall puts slightly more pressure on investments in our schools, universities and community colleges, health and human services and other building blocks of Kentucky communities. And its details reinforce the need to generate...

Young undocumented workers in Kentucky contribute more than $9 million in state, local taxes

With uncertainty around how the Trump administration will treat policies that currently offer protection to undocumented immigrants brought here as children, a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) shows these young immigrants pay a higher state and local tax rate in Kentucky than the wealthiest people in the state do.    The report estimates the 6,000 young undocumented...

Commentary: Paying taxes causes aggravation for many, but we all benefit from the results

By Anna Baumann Special to KyForward Across the commonwealth, Kentuckians were filing their taxes this week; and many are wondering if and how the Governor’s intention to do tax reform this year will impact what they pay in the future. The principles of good tax reform are clear (that it generates new revenue to invest in our communities in a fair and reliable way). Tax Day is a good time to remember...

Commentary: Adding sales tax to groceries would hurt low-income families, weaken revenue growth

By Anna Baumann Special to KyForward Gov. Bevin has said he will propose tax reform in a special session this year that will move Kentucky toward a “consumption-based” tax system – in other words shifting from income taxes to greater reliance on sales taxes. One of the options for doing so would be to expand the state’s sales tax base to include groceries. But a tax shift package that includes...

Commentary: Removing undocumented immigrants would have major affect on Kentucky economy

By Anna Baumann Special to KyForward Undocumented immigrants living in Kentucky pay $36.6 million in state and local taxes each year, according to a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. These substantial tax contributions should be acknowledged as lawmakers consider the economic and social impact of immigration policy and enforcement in the U.S. – including a recent executive...

Commentary: Repeal of prevailing wage would worsen job quality, harm Kentucky’s economy

By Anna Baumann Special to KyForward Good-paying jobs like those in construction are the foundation of a healthy middle class and growing economy, and a skilled construction workforce builds the high-quality physical infrastructure necessary for growth. According to a new research report, Kentucky’s prevailing wage law strengthens this important industry, and its repeal would have negative repercussions...

The State of Working Kentucky 2016: Bright spots in some areas, but still far from a full recovery

As the Commonwealth continues to gain distance from the Great Recession, a new report, The State of Working Kentucky 2016, shows a mixed story of progress for workers in recent years. The report, by the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KCEP), notes the state’s unemployment rate has fallen below pre-recession levels while workers experienced real wage growth from the top to bottom in 2015 for...

Average income for top 1 percent of Kentuckians continues to rise while dropping for all others

Income inequality in Kentucky has risen significantly in recent decades, with the latest data showing real income for the wealthiest 1 percent of Kentuckians rose by 60.1 percent between 1979 and 2013, while dropping 2.6 percent for everyone else. It’s only one indicator of income inequality detailed in a new report from the Economic Policy Institute looking at trends across states, counties and...

Study finds new immigrants contribute more than population share to Kentucky economy

These children and their families have been to summer camp and youth program in Kentucky with the Kentucky Refugee Ministries. These internationals represent the 1 percent of the world’s refugee population who will be resettled outside their home countries. These new families are now residents in Kentucky. (Photo from KRM)   “Immigrants in Kentucky perform a wide and important range...