KY Policy Blog

Eastern Kentucky, Veterans Affairs Workers Benefiting From Raised Minimum Wage for State Workers

By Dustin Pugel
December 7, 2015

More than 800 Kentucky workers have benefited across the Commonwealth because of the executive order raising the minimum wage for state workers and contractors signed last summer by outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear.

In July, Gov. Beshear raised the minimum pay for state workers to $10.10 an hour and the tipped minimum wage to $4.90 an hour. Additionally, Beshear required those who contract with state government to pay a $10.10 minimum wage to their employees, although such measures wouldn’t take effect until contracts are renewed.

There are currently 68 counties with read more

Raising Minimum Wage Would Reduce Spending on Medicaid

By Dustin Pugel
December 4, 2015

Those advocating to scale back Kentucky’s highly-successful Medicaid expansion cite a concern about its cost to the state. One way to help buffer costs would be to raise the minimum wage in Kentucky to $10.10 per hour, which would reduce the state’s spending on Medicaid by an estimated $34 million each year according to research by the Center for American Progress.

An increase of the minimum wage to $10.10 would directly impact an estimated 304,000 Kentucky workers, 16,700 of whom would see their earnings increase to the point that they read more

Who Stands to Benefit from Lexington’s New Minimum Wage

By Jason Bailey
November 20, 2015

An estimated 31,300 workers in Lexington who would otherwise make less than $10.10 an hour will have higher wages once the newly-passed minimum wage ordinance — the second such local law in Kentucky and the third in the South — is fully implemented in 2018.

In addition to the workers who will directly benefit, another 9,700 who make slightly above $10.10 an hour could also receive a small raise when wage scales are adjusted up, based on the experience of minimum wage increases elsewhere.

While the final ordinance didn’t include read more

Child Care Workers’ Pay Is Not Enough

By Dustin Pugel
November 5, 2015

Child care plays a critical role for ensuring families can work and helping children get a healthy start to their developmental process. In Kentucky, it’s also responsible for $810 million in economic activity and over 26,000 jobs. However, as detailed in a new study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), pay in the industry is low, affecting the quality of care available and the well-being of child care workers.

According to the study, most child care workers are 23 – to- 49 years old and have completed some college. The read more

New Report Shows Kentucky Child Care Assistance Continues to Fall Short

By Dustin Pugel
October 30, 2015

Kentucky’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) has one of the lowest income eligibility thresholds and has among the highest co-pays for parents among state child care subsidy programs, according to the annual child care report recently released by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). The report shows while nationally child care assistance is improving, Kentucky’s program is still weak.

The report assesses all 50 states’ child care programs based on their income eligibility limits, waiting lists, parent co-payments, reimbursement rates to providers and how much leeway parents have when looking read more

Report Shows Quality Childcare is Out of Reach for Kentucky Families

By Dustin Pugel
October 13, 2015

A new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows child care is a heavy burden on Kentucky families’ pocketbooks, reiterating the need for more child care assistance in the state.

In almost every community in the country, families spend more than 10 percent of their budget on child care, the benchmark for affordability established by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In Kentucky, the median income for a family of four in 2014 was $54,000, with families spending an average of 22.5 percent of their income on read more

Eastern Kentucky the Big Winner in Insurance Gains, but Rise in Poverty Shows Work to Be Done

By Jason Bailey
September 17, 2015

New Census data released yesterday showed Kentucky led the nation in its drop in the share of people who are uninsured.  More detailed Census data released today shows it’s in Appalachian Kentucky where the biggest gains were seen.

The state as a whole saw its uninsured rate fall from 14.3 percent in 2013 to 8.5 percent in 2014, a gain of 5.8 percentage points. Among congressional districts, the biggest drop was in eastern Kentucky’s 5th district, where the rate fell 8.7 percentage points — from 17.1 percent in 2013 to read more

Restricted Access to Unemployment Benefits Played Role in Paying Back Loan

By Jason Bailey
August 11, 2015

Kentucky got the good news it has now paid off its $972 million loan from the federal government after the state’s unemployment insurance program fell into the red during the recession. While a recovering economy and additional employer taxes helped pay back the loan two years earlier than expected, so did the fact that Kentucky has restrictive unemployment benefits that have failed to keep up with a changing workforce, limiting the amount that’s paid out to jobless workers in need.

Kentucky’s unemployment insurance costs rose dramatically when job loss spiked read more

Yes, the Minimum Wage Helps Fight Poverty

By Jason Bailey
June 24, 2015

In testimony yesterday to the Lexington Fayette Urban County Council on raising the local minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, a University of Kentucky economics professor argued against a wage increase by claiming it’s not a good strategy to help workers who live in poverty. But in fact the minimum wage is one of many tools needed to do just that and is effective in playing its role.

The testimony claimed low-wage workers (those making less than $10.10) are much different from workers who live below the poverty line, the read more

Visual: Who Benefits from Lexington Raising the Minimum Wage?

By Kenny Colston
June 8, 2015

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council is considering an incremental minimum wage increase to $10.10 per hour for its workers over the next three years. Lexington would be the second city in Kentucky, and in the South, to raise its wage above the current $7.25 federal minimum wage. Recently, Louisville joined 29 states and a growing number of cities nationwide that have tackled the eroding value of the federal minimum wage through their own increases. You can see more data on who would benefit here.

Lexington Min Wage Infographic read more