KY Policy Blog

Food Assistance Cuts in Trump Budget Would Have a Devastating Impact on Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
May 24, 2017

The deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) in President Trump’s budget proposal would be devastating to Kentucky — particularly in rural parts of the state. SNAP provides critical assistance to prevent low-income Kentuckians from going hungry, lifts many out of poverty and leads to better outcomes for children in struggling households. The proposed cuts to SNAP are made by shifting 25 percent of the cost to states, putting pressure on them to reduce benefits and make cuts to the program that include imposing a read more

SNAP Works and Shows Where Economic Progress Still Needed

By Jason Bailey
March 24, 2017

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, played a key role in helping cushion Kentucky’s economy from the depths of the Great Recession. It continues to be a critical lifeline and economic stimulus for people and parts of the state facing ongoing economic challenges.

SNAP is designed to automatically help boost the economy when it falters. More people become eligible for the program when jobs are lost and incomes decline. That feature both supports families during hard times and counteracts the economic drag of lower spending. read more

Worker Protections Undermined by SB 237

By Anna Baumann
February 25, 2017

A number of harmful bills affecting wages and working conditions have passed this session, making it a year of setbacks for workers already. But SB 237 would make things worse.

It shrinks state workplace protections and the number of workers covered.

Federal labor laws set a bare minimum floor on labor standards, on top of which states customize their own worker protections. For example, 29 states and D.C. have adopted a minimum wage higher than the federal $7.25; and Kentucky’s current 7th day overtime law builds on federal overtime protections. read more

Targeted Refugee Groups Make Important Contributions to Kentucky’s Communities and Economy

By Anna Baumann
January 31, 2017

Two recent reports from the Center for American Progress (CAP) explore the contributions immigrants and refugees make in our communities and local economies – including Syrians and Somalians, two groups targeted by President Trump’s executive order – and find high levels of economic participation.

Many Syrian Immigrants Are Building Lives in Kentucky

According to CAP, among states Kentucky resettled the 16th most Syrian refugees between January 2014 and December 2016 (Kentucky has the 26th largest population of all states). Since the crisis began in 2011, Kentucky has resettled 450 Syrian read more

Mix of Criminal Justice Bills So Far in 2017 General Assembly

By Ashley Spalding
January 18, 2017

With Kentucky’s growing inmate population and high rates of recidivism, what we need in 2017 is legislation that will make these problems better, not worse. The criminal justice bills filed so far this session are a mix of both. While several bills could lead to fewer people being incarcerated or create more ways for Kentuckians with records to get a second chance, other bills would put more people in prison, particularly those struggling with addiction.

Here are some of the bills that could help to provide a second chance to read more

Job Growth Claims from Right to Work Not Backed by Evidence

By Anna Baumann
December 27, 2016

Proponents of Right-to-Work (RTW) argue that Kentucky would attract more jobs if such a law was in place, especially in manufacturing. But the evidence does not show our RTW neighbors have grown jobs more successfully than Kentucky in recent years, and academic research on the subject also doesn’t find a link between RTW and job growth.

Looking at statewide manufacturing job growth in Kentucky and our RTW neighbors, all are still below December 2007 employment levels before the Great Recession hit, but Kentucky is the closest to regaining the jobs read more

How Criminal Justice Reform Would Help Kentucky Kids

By Ashley Spalding
December 22, 2016

Criminal justice reform is important not just for adults but also for children, as highlighted in a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). This link is especially relevant in Kentucky given the large share of children with a parent who has been incarcerated as well as opportunity to make needed changes given the momentum around criminal justice reform in our state. If fewer parents are incarcerated — particularly to serve very long sentences — their kids could see improvements in education, better health and more economic opportunities, the read more

Social Security Keeps Kentuckians Out of Poverty and Boosts Local Economies

By Dustin Pugel
November 7, 2016

Social Security helps nearly a million Kentuckians make ends meet, cuts senior poverty dramatically and supports local economies by ensuring more people have money in their pockets to spend, as outlined in a a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The report shows a total of 936,497 Kentuckians received Social Security benefits last year, 263,000 of whom would have otherwise been in poverty. Social Security doesn’t just benefit seniors, but children dependents as well; in Kentucky 63,882 children benefited from Social Security.

Age 65 and Older read more

Key Mechanism for Growing Middle Class in Kentucky Is Still Broken

By Anna Baumann
November 2, 2016

Wages for Kentucky workers finally grew last year, suggesting both a tightening labor market and pointing to strong recent growth in manufacturing and health care jobs, among other industries. But one year of good news doesn’t change the fact that the gains from economic growth are not being shared equitably with Kentucky workers.

Four decades’ worth of data show a long-term trend in which Kentucky workers’ paychecks are lagging behind growth in productivity, or the value of our economy’s output per hour of work. Between 1979 and 2015, typical Kentucky read more

New Urgency for State Minimum Wage Action

By Dustin Pugel
October 20, 2016

The decision by the Supreme Court of Kentucky invalidating local minimum wage increases means 76,000 working Kentuckians in our two biggest cities now must look to the General Assembly for action. An estimated 45,000 workers in Louisville and 31,300 workers in Lexington will no longer receive the much-needed raises made possible by local minimum wage ordinances. All this makes action even more urgent on the part of the General Assembly to raise the minimum wage state-wide while allowing localities the freedom to go beyond the level the state sets.

Across read more