KY Policy Blog

Map Shows How HB 374’s State EITC Would Help Working Families and Communities Across Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
February 13, 2015

By closing several corporate tax loopholes, House Bill 374 would enable the state to invest in an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for Kentucky’s working families. The state EITC would be 7.5 percent of the federal EITC, and would build on the established benefits of the federal credit—helping more than 400,000 working Kentuckians better afford necessities and stimulating local economies.

The following interactive map describes the positive impact a state EITC could have on each Kentucky county. Scrolling over a county on the map shows the number and share of read more

Top 1 Percent of Kentuckians Continue to Capture Bulk of Income Gains in Recovery

By Anna Baumann
January 26, 2015

Income inequality continues to widen in Kentucky and the nation through the recovery according to a new report released today by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Between 2009 and 2012 (the last year for which data are available) income for the wealthiest 1 percent of Kentuckians grew 21.3 percent, but by only 5.5 percent on average for the bottom 99 percent.

That means the top 1 percent captured 38.4 percent of all income growth in the Commonwealth. On average at the national level, the super rich captured all income growth, read more

Kentucky Workers Left Behind as Majority of States Lift the Wage Floor

By Anna Baumann
January 9, 2015

As momentum to increase the minimum wage grows around the country, Kentucky’s $7.25 minimum puts the Commonwealth in the unfortunate minority of states that haven’t boosted workers’ pay above the outdated level of the federal minimum wage. Sixty percent of American workers now live in a state that has lifted its minimum wage above the federal floor.

The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 was set in 2009 and has not been increased since to keep up with the cost of living. But erosion goes back farther: if the minimum read more

Who Stands to Benefit from Louisville’s New Minimum Wage

By Jason Bailey
January 5, 2015

An estimated 45,000 workers in Louisville/Jefferson County who would otherwise make less than $9 an hour will have higher wages once the new metro government minimum wage ordinance—the first such local law in the South—is fully implemented in two and a half years.

In addition to the workers who will directly benefit, another 13,500 who make slightly above $9 an hour could also receive a small raise when wage scales are adjusted upward, based on the experience of minimum wage increases elsewhere.

Of the workers affected, an estimated 88 percent read more

Kentuckians Will Benefit Under the President’s Immigration Action

By Anna Baumann
November 21, 2014

President Obama’s announcement yesterday that nearly 5 million unauthorized immigrants will be eligible to receive a temporary stay and work permit is good news for Kentucky. By removing the fear of deportation for almost half of the undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. and increasing their access to work, the law will safeguard families, improve their economic opportunities and contributions and allow fuller participation in communities across the Commonwealth.

Briefly, the executive order:

Builds on Obama’s 2012 initiative, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which delays deportation and makes work read more

Kentucky Workers’ Productivity Is Growing But Wages Are Not

By Jason Bailey
October 23, 2014

A big reason many Kentucky workers’ wages are stuck is that they’ve been left out of the gains from economic growth, which have been going in large part to those at the top.

This trend can be seen in the relationship between productivity—the value of the economic output produced per hour worked—and worker compensation.

Increases in productivity provide the basis for increases in workers’ living standards because it means the economy is generating growing wealth. In the United States from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, worker productivity and read more

What the Research Says About Minimum Wage Increases

By Jason Bailey
October 15, 2014

While Louisville considers whether to increase its minimum wage in the face of federal and state inaction, there’s no question that many thousands of low-wage workers stand to benefit. But some are claiming that the city will also suffer from harmful job loss were it to take this action.

You often hear opponents claim that minimum wage increases will result in meaningful declines in employment. However, that’s based on outdated theories about the minimum wage that don’t match where much of the best empirical research has been pointing. As noted read more

Student Loan Default Rates Drop Nationally but Not in Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
September 25, 2014

As described in a WFPL article published today, Kentucky’s federal student loan default rate is now the 4th- highest among the states. Also, while new data shows some improvement in the national student loan default rate, Kentucky’s rate did not improve.

According to the new federal Department of Education data, the national three-year student loan default rate is 13.7 percent while in Kentucky it is 17.5 percent. The national student loan default rate declined this year, down from 14.7 percent last year. But Kentucky’s rate last year was 17.3 percent, read more

Kentucky Should Get Involved In Debate About New College Affordability Strategies

By Ashley Spalding
July 22, 2014

While recent discussion of the student debt crisis has focused largely on federal proposals to make student loan payments easier to manage, several states (not to mention Starbucks) are experimenting with new strategies as well. Given Kentucky’s growing college affordability challenges, the state should get involved in this conversation while keeping in mind the specific shortcomings of particular ideas.

Driven in part by dramatic increases in tuition rates across the nation, cumulative student loan debt in the U.S. has reached $1.2 trillion and continues to grow. These trends are largely read more

Lessening Burden of Student Loans One Step of Many Toward Greater College Affordability

By Ashley Spalding
June 11, 2014

There is a lot of focus this week on what can be done to address the student loan debt crisis—with cumulative U. S. student loan debt having reached $1.2 trillion and continuing to grow. On Monday President Obama signed an executive order that will lower student loan payments for up to five million additional students and forgive their loan balances after 20 years of repayment. And the Senate is set to consider a bill to allow graduates with student loan interest rates much higher than those currently available to refinance read more