KY Policy Blog

Legislation Requiring Government-Issued ID Could Deny Public Benefits to Eligible Recipients

By Ashley Spalding
March 20, 2012

Senate Bill 118, which passed the Senate yesterday, would require applicants for all public benefits to provide proof of lawful presence in the United States. While the bill’s proponents say it is needed to bar illegal immigrants from state and federal public benefit programs, the legislation instead threatens benefits for citizens most in need of assistance, adds costs to the state and promotes inaccurate stereotypes about immigrants.

A substantial number of U.S. citizens do not have government-issued identification that proves citizenship—particularly those who are low-income, minority and elderly. One study read more

Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform Launches Website

By Ashley Spalding
March 8, 2012

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform launched a website this week to provide information about the commission process and ways for everyday Kentuckians to get involved. The commission has been tasked with recommending changes to Kentucky’s tax code by mid-November, after studying the state tax system and reviewing input from the public and interested parties.

The website includes the schedule of commission meetings (the first was held on Tuesday), which are open to the public:

Public Meeting Schedule

(All times are local)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012, 12:30-3:30 p.m. Transportation read more

A Decade of Erosion in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance in Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
February 28, 2012

According to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), 200,000 fewer non-elderly Kentuckians had health insurance through an employer in 2010 than in 2000. The report finds that employer-sponsored insurance declined 9.3 percentage points over that period. Only 58.7 percent of Kentuckians under age 65 had this type of coverage in 2010.

The EPI report describes how, at the national level, those with lower levels of education and lower wages are less likely to have health insurance through an employer—or be insured at all.1 According to the report, read more

Tax Expenditures Big Cause of Budget Problems, but Some Legislators Want More

By Jason Bailey
February 24, 2012

There are three main reasons that the budget the legislature is now considering includes so many cuts. First, the economy is still struggling. Second, federal recovery-related financial assistance to the states is gone. And third, Kentucky’s tax system needs to be reformed. One reason for the third problem is that the General Assembly typically puts in place new “tax expenditures” every time it meets.

Tax expenditures are special tax preferences, rates or exemptions that benefit particular groups, industries or activities. Just like spending on the budget, they are a way read more

Faster Job Growth is Encouraging, but Kentucky Still Has Long Way to Go

By Jason Bailey
February 17, 2012

Job growth in Kentucky picked up in the last three months of 2011, as the state added 15,800 jobs. At the depths of the recession, Kentucky had lost 117,700 jobs. Job creation since the recovery began has reduced that gap, but the state still has 60,200 fewer jobs than before the recession hit.

In addition, the state’s real jobs deficit is even bigger once you take into account continued population growth. Kentucky needed to create an additional 57,400 jobs over the last four years to keep up with the ongoing read more

Budget Would Further Reduce College Affordability

By Jason Bailey
January 25, 2012

Three stacks of books and large dollar stack.The barriers to affordable higher education–especially for low-income Kentuckians–will continue to grow under a budget that cuts funding to postsecondary institutions and limits need-based financial aid.

Budget Would Further Reduce College Affordability

The Governor’s budget includes cuts of 6.4 percent to higher education institutions. On top of previous cuts and because of rising enrollment, per student General Fund dollars for higher education institutions would be an estimated 22 percent lower next year than in 2008 under the plan (see figure below). More cuts would inevitably lead to tuition hikes on read more

Inadequate Tax System Has Big Role in Austere Budget

By Jason Bailey
January 24, 2012

While the still-weak economy and the end of federal recovery-related assistance are important factors in the tight budget now being considered in Frankfort, long-term structural problems with Kentucky’s tax system also play a big role.

Economists say that a state’s tax revenue should grow in line with its economy in order to keep up with approximate growth in costs. Kentucky’s General Fund revenue has been declining as a share of the economy for a long time, and that trend is expected to continue over the next two years (see the read more

State Releases More Pessimistic Revenue Forecast

By Jason Bailey
October 14, 2011

The official body that approves state revenue estimates released a preliminary forecast today that projects nearly $500 million less in General Fund revenue for the upcoming two-year budget than the draft forecast back in August. Troubling questions about the economic outlook are resulting in less optimistic estimates.

The new estimate suggests growth in the General Fund of only 1.8 percent in 2013 and 2.4 percent in 2014. That translates to revenue growth of $164 million in 2013 and $224 million in 2014.1

In addition to possibly weak revenues, costs will read more

Op-Ed: Kentucky Must Invest, Reform Tax Code to Progress

By Jason Bailey
March 18, 2011

Published in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Lawmakers left Frankfort last week without agreement on closing the hole in this year’s Medicaid budget, and are convening this week to give it another try. A point of contention between the chambers has been whether to include additional across-the-board cuts to a range of state services.

The House and Governor Beshear argue that more cuts aren’t necessary, while the Senate claims that cuts now will prevent bigger cuts later.

But before the legislature makes any more cuts—now or next year—it should consider that they read more