KY Policy Blog

State EITC Would Help Working Kentuckians Afford Necessities

By Ashley Spalding
February 5, 2014

A state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is included in Governor Beshear’s tax proposal, would help several hundred thousand of Kentucky’s low- and moderate-income working families make ends meet—among many other important positive effects. Those who would benefit include single mothers, children and military families.

The federal EITC, which currently lifts about 6.5 million individuals—half of whom are children—out of poverty each year, has been shown to help working families afford basic necessities and provide long-term benefits to children. It also supports local economies. In 2013, the federal EITC read more

Increase in Tipped Minimum Wage Is Long Overdue

By Jason Bailey
January 30, 2014

Stagnant or falling real wages for many Kentucky workers threatens their standard of living and is leading to growing income inequality. One of the causes of inadequate wages is the failure of state and federal governments to adjust the minimum wage to keep up with inflation. That neglect includes the minimum wage for tipped workers, which has not been increased in 23 years.

House Bill 191 in the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly would gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers from $2.13 an hour to 70 percent of the read more

Cut-off in Unemployment Benefits Would Hurt Thousands of Kentuckians and the Economy

By Anna Baumann
December 17, 2013

53,000 long-term unemployed Kentuckians will lose crucial income support in the next year if Congress does not reauthorize Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), according to a recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Created during the Great Recession and extended under the American Taxpayer Relief Act, EUC has increased the number of weeks Americans can collect unemployment benefits while they look for work in the still-sluggish economy. If EUC is allowed to expire on December 28, 2013, Kentuckians who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks will read more

875,000 Kentuckians to See a Cut in Food Assistance Beginning Today

By Jason Bailey
October 29, 2013

end of ARRA SNAP cutsBeginning today, 875,000 Kentuckians will see their food assistance benefits cut when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) expires.

All of the more than 47 million Americans who receive SNAP will see their food assistance reduced. That’s because a modest boost in SNAP benefits—part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) designed to strengthen the economy and ease hardship—ends today. For a family of three, the cut will mean a reduction of $29 each month. Benefits will now average read more

Kentucky Fast Food Workers Struggle with Low Wages While Industry Does Well

By Jason Bailey
October 15, 2013

Kentucky’s 32,000 frontline fast-food workers make such low wages that 46 percent of them qualify for low-income public assistance programs at a cost of $115 million in 2011, according to a new report released today by researchers at the University of Illinois and University of California-Berkeley.

The report shows that the low wages of non-managerial fast food workers make them twice as likely as all workers to participate in income-based public assistance programs. In Kentucky in 2011, 44 percent of fast food workers received the earned income tax credit, 11 read more

New Data: One in Six Households in Kentucky Struggle Against Hunger

By Jason Bailey
September 4, 2013

1 in 6 households-250x15015.6 percent of Kentucky households report serious problems affording adequate nutritious food, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture today covering the last three years. Of the approximately 285,000 Kentucky households experiencing food insecurity, some 113,000 experienced very low food security—meaning that one or more household members have had to reduce their food intake.

The 15.6 percent of Kentucky households with food insecurity is in stark contrast to 10 years ago, when only 10.8 percent reported food insecurity, according to the report. Overall, 17.6 million American read more

Kentucky’s Joblessness a Big Reason to Protect SNAP

By Jason Bailey
August 12, 2013

House Republican leaders are calling for even deeper cuts to the food stamps program, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), after the cuts they considered last month didn’t go far enough for some House members.

The new proposal would immediately kick up to 88,000 Kentuckians off of SNAP, and would curtail states’ ability to provide more than three months of benefits every three years to childless adults who can’t find a job during bad economic times or in a region of high unemployment. The cuts are on top of read more

Another Bad Year for Kentucky Workers’ Wages

By Jason Bailey
August 8, 2013

Real wages for Kentucky workers fell again last year, continuing a slide that began in 2001. Congress’ unwillingness to spur a stronger economic recovery and act on policies like raising the minimum wage play a big role in depressing wages.

Low wage Kentucky workers continue to see the real value of their wages erode. Inflation-adjusted wages for workers at the 10th percentile fell 1.5 percent in 2012—to $7.99 an hour—and have declined 6.5 percent since 2001. Likewise, workers at the 20th and 30th percentile have seen the purchasing power of read more

875,000 Kentuckians Will See Cuts to Food Assistance This Fall

By Ashley Spalding
August 2, 2013

New Report: “SNAP Benefits Will Be Cut for All Participants In November 2013”

875,000 Kentuckians Will See Cuts to Food Assistance This Fall

875,000 people in Kentucky will see a cut in their food assistance benefits this fall, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is set to expire, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discussed in a report from the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

All of the more than 47 read more

Underfunding Also Led to Shortfall in Local Government Pensions

By Jason Bailey
June 14, 2013

The pension system for Kentucky local government employees has a shortfall even though local governments have been required to make their annual payments each year. Some are using this fact to suggest that defined benefit pensions themselves must be unsustainable and shift the focus away from inadequate government contributions. But this claim misses several important points.

First, the funding condition of the local government pension system is far better than the state employees’ system, for which the legislature hasn’t made full payments for the last 11 years. The main County read more