KY Policy Blog

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

The Safety Net Is Effective at Fighting Poverty in Kentucky, Should Be Protected

By Anna Baumann
May 26, 2015

More than 800,000 Kentuckians are lifted out of poverty each year by safety net programs including Social Security, SNAP (formerly food stamps) and low-income tax credits for working families according to recent research from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Of those 809,000, nearly one in four are children.

It’s a larger impact than was previously thought. New data from the Urban Institute takes underreporting of certain benefits into account to show just how many people the safety net serves (underreporting occurs when, for instance, someone forgets or read more

Working Family Tax Credits Support Kentucky Moms and Kids

By Anna Baumann
May 8, 2015

Mother’s Day is a fitting time to celebrate the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), two working family programs that help 296,000 Kentucky mothers make ends meet and invest in the long-term well-being of their children.

The EITC is a federal tax credit for low- and moderate-income working families and individuals that increases in size with earnings up to a certain threshold, then phases out. Families with more children qualify for a larger credit. Similarly, the CTC provides a tax credit of up to $1,000 per read more

Minority Working Families in Kentucky Far Behind Economically

By Ashley Spalding
March 16, 2015

A new report highlights a sharp racial/ethnic divide among working families in Kentucky. While the majority of low-income working families in the state are white, 52 percent of minority working families in the state are considered low-income compared to 30 percent of white working families.

The report, released by the Working Poor Families Project, shows that working families headed by racial/ethnic minorities across the nation were twice as likely to be poor or low-income compared with non-Hispanic whites in 2013 — a gap that has increased since the onset of read more

Bill Would Provide Greater Retirement Security for Workers at Kentucky Small Businesses

By Jason Bailey
February 24, 2015

A concerning number of Americans are financially unprepared for retirement, and a contributing factor is that many lack a retirement plan offered through their jobs. But a bill in the Kentucky House of Representatives would help by providing a retirement savings option for the thousands of Kentuckians who work for small businesses that don’t currently offer a plan.

A financially secure retirement is often described as a three-legged stool:  retirees need Social Security, a pension plan and retirement savings to make ends meet in their later years. But too many read more

Misclassification Harms State Budget as Well as Workers

By Ashley Spalding
February 22, 2015

House Bill 256 would help Kentucky workers as well as the state’s budget by cracking down on the growing problem of misclassification of workers as independent contractors, with a focus on Kentucky’s construction industry.

Misclassification occurs when an employer incorrectly classifies a worker as an independent contractor rather than an employee. While an employee’s work is directed by an employer, independent contractors are legally considered to be in business for themselves and are not supposed to be subject to the full-time direction of an employer. According to the Internal Revenue read more