KY Policy Blog

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 However, that’s based on outdated theories about the minimum wage that don’t match where much of the best empirical research has been pointing.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

State EITC Would Make a Regressive Tax System Fairer

By Ashley Spalding
May 15, 2014

Previous posts have described how a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would help working low-income Kentuckians make ends meet and reach every corner of the state. A state EITC would also make the tax system fairer, as shown in a new report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

Kentucky’s tax system has a lot of room for improvement in the area of fairness. Low- and middle-income Kentuckians pay a greater share of their incomes in state and local taxes than those at the top. For instance, read more

Infographic: Make Work Pay for Kentucky Families with a State EITC and Minimum Wage Increase

By Anna Baumann
March 26, 2014

Hundreds of thousands of hardworking Kentuckians in low-wage jobs are struggling to make ends meet. Here are two tools that would give Kentucky families a boost they need: enacting a state Earned Income Tax Credit that builds on the poverty-fighting success of the federal EITC and raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

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Infographic: A State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
March 18, 2014

The infographic below shows why adopting a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would be a good move for Kentucky. A state EITC could help more than 400,000 Kentucky families better afford basic necessities, lead to lasting improvements in the lives of children and increase fairness in Kentucky’s tax system. Currently 26 states (including the District of Columbia) have an EITC.

EITC graphic 3 read more

Interactive Map: How a State Earned Income Tax Credit Would Benefit Each Kentucky County

By Ashley Spalding
March 12, 2014

A state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in Kentucky would build on the established benefits of the federal EITC, helping 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 people who would benefit and the additional dollars that would flow into each community. To view a larger version of the map, click here.


Dashboard 2 Learn About Tableau

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Top 1 Percent of Kentuckians Captured Nearly Half of State Income Growth over Last Few Decades

By Jason Bailey
February 18, 2014

The top 1 percent of earners in Kentucky took home 48.8 percent of state income gains from 1979 to 2007—a share in line with the national average of 53.9 percent—according to a new report released today by the Economic Policy Institute that documents growing income inequality in all 50 states.

In The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State, Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price conduct a state-level analysis of income trends from 1917-2011. They show that states reflected the national pattern of extreme growth in income inequality over read more