A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

New school year may mean tough choices for districts learning to operate with fewer dollars

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service The school day might look a little different for Kentucky kids this year, as districts figure out how to function with fewer dollars. Senior Policy Analyst with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy Ashley Spaulding explained that for more than a decade, in order to make room for tax cuts, state legislators and the governor slashed funding for pre-k through 12...

Jason Bailey: It’s time for Kentucky to embrace a sensible approach to paying employee pensions

The long pension saga of the last year gave rise to the largest mobilization of Kentuckians to the Capitol the state has seen in decades. The unpopularity of proposals led lawmakers to try sneaking the final pension bill into sewage legislation, which the Franklin Circuit Court declared unconstitutional last week. The whole episode will mean a halt to more legislative attacks on pensions for the time...

Commentary: Coalition of Kentucky organizations oppose food assistance cuts in Farm Bill

One in seven Kentuckians has food on their table in part thanks to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program lifts 164,000 Kentuckians, including 73,000 children, out of poverty. It sends nearly $1 billion a year to grocery stores and our state economy, and injects even more into our local communities during hard times when they most need it. For decades, SNAP has been a program...

Jason Bailey: Tax plan is a tax shift with troubling long-term effect of state’s revenues; cuts for wealthy

The General Assembly tax bill Monday is a shift in taxes away from corporations and high-income people and over to low- and middle-income Kentuckians. Although the official estimate is that it would bring $248 million more in net revenue by the second year, the plan relies heavily on a fading source in a cigarette tax increase and very uncertain new revenues from conformity to the federal tax code....

Ky had second largest Affordable Care Act signup increase in nation during 2017 enrollment period

Kentucky had the second greatest percentage increase in the number of residents who signed up for health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the 2017 signup period, compared to the year before. The number in Kentucky was 110.4 percent higher than the 2017 sign-up. The rankings may change as numbers come in from remaining states that extended their enrollment deadlines...

Survey shows cuts to Ky. schools have meant fewer services, proposed budget risks quality of education

At the same time that new cuts to state funding for education are on the table, a new report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy shows previous budget cuts have already stretched Kentucky school districts and are hurting classrooms and kids. Further cuts could force even more significant reductions in educational programs and services, layoffs or even school closings. Through a survey of...

Coalition announces push for revenue-raising tax reform in response to state budget proposal

With millions in cuts to education funding, the elimination of 70 programs and more than 6 percent cuts elsewhere in the budget, a broad-based coalition has announced they will lobby lawmakers to clean up tax breaks to raise revenue in the current legislative session. The coalition, a diverse group of 38 organizations called Kentucky Together who represent education, public employee, retiree, health,...

Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says U.S. House tax plan benefits wealthiest Kentuckians

A new 50-state analysis of the U.S. House tax plan released last week reveals that in Kentucky the wealthiest 1 percent of Kentuckians would receive the greatest share of the total tax cut in year 1 and their share would grow through 2027. Further, the value of the tax cut would decline over time for every income group in Kentucky except the very richest. House leadership continues to tout the tax...

Dorsey Ridley: Bill to save Kentucky’s pensions finally released, but success remains doubtful

A draft of the massive 505-page bill to address Kentucky’s public pension challenges was released in the late hours of Friday. I expect the draft bill reflects what was disclosed a few weeks ago when the governor released an outline of the proposed legislation but further scrutiny may cause additional concerns. The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy analysis of the bill has already found that money...

Ashley Spalding: Kentucky’s preschool, kindergarten programs effective but need greater investment

High quality early childhood education has long been understood to be an important investment with a significant return. While our state has done more in recent years to expand access to preschool and full-day kindergarten, a new report from the state Legislative Research Commission shows there is real need for additional investments. Preschool The report describes how effective our state’s preschool...

Dustin Pugel: Cassidy-Graham proposal greatest threat yet to Kentucky’s health care coverage

The latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is known as Cassidy-Graham, and it very well may be the greatest threat to Kentucky’s health care we’ve seen. The state’s recent success in getting people coverage, and even health care gains achieved decades ago, are at risk of being undone with this legislation. The bill, sponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham, is perhaps...

New data shows rise in number of Kentuckians with health insurance coverage thanks to ACA

Newly-released U.S. Census data shows Kentucky continued its historic progress in reducing the share of residents without health insurance coverage in 2016, down to only 5.1 percent compared to 6.0 percent in 2015 – a statistically significant drop over the past year. The new American Community Survey data (ACS) shows Kentucky has also experienced a statistically significant 9.2 percentage point...

Jason Bailey: Proposed 401ks cost more than Kentucky’s existing defined benefit pension plans

The 401k-type defined contribution (DC) plans proposed by PFM in their final report would cost more than Kentucky’s existing defined benefit (DB) plans, according to data from PFM itself and the systems’ actuaries. Under a switch, the state would pay more for a plan that reduces the retirement security of its workers. PFM’s proposed DC plan would require employees to make a minimum three percent...

Jason Bailey: Legislative session on pensions without new revenue won’t fix the problem

By Jason Bailey Special to KyForward In January, Gov. Bevin announced he would call a special session this year on pensions and tax reform. At the time, he said the issues must go together and rightly asserted tax changes could not be “revenue neutral” — meaning they must generate new dollars to meet our ongoing obligations. In recent interviews, however, the governor has seemingly backed away...

Kentucky among bottom 10 states for per-student funding for public universities, report says

An annual report on higher education cuts across the U.S. shows Kentucky’s continued budget reductions are keeping it among the bottom 10 states when it comes to per-student funding cuts to our public universities and community colleges. The report, from the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, shows Kentucky in the bottom 10 states in cuts since 2008 — a decline of 26.4...

Ashley Spalding: Five things to keep in mind as college students head back to school

By Ashley Spalding In colleges across Kentucky, students are beginning their fall semester — some for the first time, some returning to complete a degree. Here are five things about higher education in our state to keep in mind as the new school year begins. State budget cuts have continued Kentucky ranks in the bottom 10 states in the nation for per-student higher education funding cuts since 2008,...

Urban Institute study predicts Kentucky’s uninsured population would triple if ACA is repealed

By Dustin Pugel Special to KyForward Kentucky would see its uninsured rate more than triple under the proposed Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to the Urban Institute, Kentucky’s uninsured population would jump by 541,000 people in 2022 based on the proposed changes to the healthcare system. The primary reason for the coverage losses is a cut in federal funding for...

GOP health care opponents call latest Senate plan as a ‘tax cut’ for the rich during rally

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Supporters of a single-payer health care system rallied in Frankfort on Monday calling the GOP’s replacement bill for Obamacare a tax cut for the rich. About 75 people gathered at the Capitol Rotunda for a “Save Our Healthcare” rally, sponsored by Together Frankfort and other groups dissatisfied with the health care plans offered by Republicans in Washington. Dustin...