A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Jason Bailey: American Rescue Plan is a lifeline for Kentuckians, right legislation at exactly the right time

When economies falter and hardship rises, governments must respond with vigorous action. It’s a lesson our country learned in the 1930s with the New Deal, but had seemingly forgotten during the painful decade that followed the Great Recession.  The landmark American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act Congress passed this week reflects a rediscovered truth. Its passage is a lifeline to families and communities...

As effects of pandemic continue to stall economy, region’s economists weigh in on Biden recovery plan

President Joe Biden presents his economic recovery platform. (Photo by Adam Schultz, via Ohio Valley ReSource) By Alana Watson Ohio Valley Resource The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to cripple the economy in the Ohio Valley and President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats are pursuing his plan for economic recovery. Biden’s economic priorities include raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour,...

Anna Baumann: Voucher would drain much-needed resources from Kentucky’s public schools

Over the next couple months, the 2021 Kentucky General Assembly will decide whether to enact House Bill 149, a private school voucher program that between now and 2040 would take $8.6 billion away from public schools and other critical investments and hand over control of those resources to unaccountable private entities. The loss of public resources would come at a critical time for Kentucky’s P-12...

Jason Bailey: General Assembly should strengthen recovery by approving much-needed relief

The 2021 Kentucky General Assembly will reconvene in early February, and the remaining piece of essential business is agreement on a new state budget. The legislature faces a choice: deploy extra resources to build a bridge to the other side of this crisis, or pursue austerity and leave us facing a slower and more treacherous recovery. Kentucky’s opportunities in this budget are surprising. Given...

Inequality between rich and poor Kentucky school districts grows amid COVID costs, revenue losses

By Anna Baumann Kentucky Center for Economic Policy As schools across the commonwealth face unprecedented new costs and challenges from a surging pandemic and historic recession, prior cuts in state core funding for K-12 education make the challenge even worse for Kentucky’s poorest districts. A new analysis from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy shows the funding gap between wealthy and poor...

Jason Bailey: Meager executive action is no substitute for real Congressional aid

Kentucky’s economy is weakening in the face of a resurging pandemic and the end of stimulus aid. Consumer spending is sagging following the July 25 expiration of $600 a week in supplemental unemployment benefits. And just turn on the news and you hear story after story of jobless workers unable make ends meet as benefits are cut in the midst of a record slump. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate has failed...

Daily Yonder: Will a rural homelessness crisis hit after benefit and eviction moratoriums end?

By Liz Carey Special to KyForward With federal unemployment benefits ending soon and moratoriums on evictions soon to follow, social services organizations are bracing for a homelessness crisis to hit rural Americans. Adrienne Bush, executive director for the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky, says her agency anticipates the termination of federal unemployment benefits could mean as many...

Jason Bailey: Kentucky’s senators must agree to adequate federal aid for state to survive recession

A couple months ago, some public officials and corporate lobbyists began eagerly calling for states to reopen rapidly as the way to solve the COVID-19 problems of mass unemployment and struggling businesses. But the choice to reopen before the virus had been controlled and minimized — and without adequate testing, contact tracing and protections for workers and consumers — has been a dismal failure. COVID-19...

Kentucky continues to see sky-high unemployment claims as pandemic downturn drags on

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service More than 800,000 Kentuckians have filed for unemployment insurance since the start of the new coronavirus pandemic, and experts warn the economic downturn will likely have ripple effects that could last for years. Ashley Spalding, research director with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says a major issue for many states is the lack of a rainy day fund,...

Kentucky lawmakers considering bill demanding state’s public agencies cooperate with ICE

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Kentucky lawmakers are considering a bill to require local police and other public agencies to actively participate in enforcing federal immigration law. Co-sponsored by Sen. Danny Carroll from Paducah and ten other lawmakers – all Republicans – the bill is slated to be read tomorrow in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Jessica Klein, policy associate...

Data shows Madison County jail crowding driven by defendants awaiting trial for low-level offenses

As the Madison County fiscal court prepares to vote on whether to raise property taxes in order to fund a new $45 million jail, newly available data shows a significant portion of the jail’s population is people being held pretrial for low-level, non-violent offenses and who have been deemed low or moderate risk of either failing to appear in court or committing new criminal activity. This data reinforces...

Kentucky Center for Economic Policy report indicates staying in jail in Ky. may depend on where you live

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Where you live in Kentucky might determine whether you stay in jail before trial because you can’t afford the cash bail, according to a new report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. Researchers found the number of people released from jail before their trial without monetary conditions differs drastically depending on the county – from just 5%...

Here’s a new tool to track ongoing changes to state’s Medicaid program, includes county enrollment data

Kentucky has a new website that shows an up-to-date timeline of all the changes in the state’s Medicaid program since 2014; provides links to Medicaid resources such as contracts, court documents, state notices and research; and provides a place for people to share stories about how changes to the program have affected them or their loved ones. It also provides Kentucky-specific Medicaid data,...

Jason Bailey: Watch out for attack on pensions on legislative session’s final day, March 28

The General Assembly adjourned for the veto period without providing relief from soon-to-spike pension costs to quasi-governmental organizations like regional universities and community mental health centers. The legislature can still prevent an unaffordable increase on the session’s final day — March 28 — but must reject attempts to attach harmful pension changes that would set Kentucky...

Center for Economic Policy report shows time limits, other challenges hinder of SNAP E&T program

More than 10,000 Kentuckians have lost food assistance in recent months as a result of the state’s decision to expire time limit waivers for some Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants. A new report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KCEP), “Time Limits and Other Challenges Hinder Success of Kentucky’s SNAP E&T Program,” shows the state’s recent expansion...

Commentary: Consensus emerging behind reforming Kentucky’s troubled criminal justice system

By Dave Adkisson and Jason Bailey Special to KyForward Kentucky’s skyrocketing incarceration trendlines are bringing worry lines to legislators’ faces in Frankfort.  There is, however, a growing consensus and hope among various stakeholder groups, including jailers, the chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court, civil rights advocates, prosecutors, think tanks, the business community and other...

10,000 Kentuckians face new struggle to provide for families as SNAP benefits work requirements begin

Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Putting food on the table has become a much bigger struggle this year for tens of thousands of Kentuckians. The state began reinstating work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on a county-by-county basis back in February. And since May, new data shows one-in-five people subject to the requirement have since lost SNAP assistance. More than...

Despite economic progress, many Kentuckians still struggling to afford basic necessities

New U.S. Census Bureau data shows continued progress in our economy overall but a relatively large share of Kentuckians still struggling to afford the basics, especially people of color, and a lack of progress for communities in eastern Kentucky. The data shows 17.2 percent of Kentuckians lived below the poverty line in 2017. The state’s poverty rate is an improvement from the 18.5 percent rate in...

Kentucky’s economy remains strong, but report shows stagnant, inadequate pay in many areas

While Kentucky’s economy as a whole has been in a period of recovery ever since 2010, jobs continue to be lacking in many parts of the state and wages remain stagnant and inadequate to make ends meet, according to a new report released this week by the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KCEP). KCEP’s Labor Day publication, “The State of Working Kentucky 2018,” looks at the condition of the...

Jason Bailey: Kentucky needs a new economic agenda, from the bottom up and the middle out

When Kentuckians have made progress in the past — from improving our schools to expanding civil rights — we’ve come together around specific plans to build a better future. Making Kentucky’s economy thrive is a crucial goal we all share today. But Kentuckians across our state see our economy falling short. Despite a declining unemployment rate ever since 2010, there aren’t enough...