KY Policy Blog

State Cuts to Education Continue to Deepen

By Ashley Spalding
September 5, 2012

Kentucky is one of 35 states in which inflation-adjusted per student state funding for K-12 education is lower this school year than it was in 2008, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The report calculates that Kentucky’s core state funding for local schools has declined by 8.5 percent, or $399 per student, between 2008 and 2013. 26 states—including Kentucky—have deepened the already steep cuts to education over the last year. School funding per student in Kentucky decreased by 1.4 percent between fiscal years read more

Increase in Federal Minimum Wage Would Provide Much-Needed Boost to Kentucky Families

By Jason Bailey
August 14, 2012

An increase in the federal minimum wage to $9.80 an hour would raise wages in Kentucky by $606 million over the next three years and benefit one out of every four of the state’s workers, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Contrary to stereotypes, increasing the minimum wage would primarily benefit adults whose families depend on these jobs to make ends meet.

The report examines the impact of legislation introduced in both houses of Congress to incrementally raise the federal minimum wage from its current read more

Agenda to Reduce Taxes and Workers’ Rights No Path to Prosperity

By Jason Bailey
August 6, 2012

Hardly a month goes by without the release of another index supposedly ranking states on their economic competitiveness. One prominent such report comes from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a controversial national corporate lobbying organization. But a new analysis by a University of Iowa economist shows that ALEC’s prescription of tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, reductions in public services and curtailment of workers’ rights has no correlation with state prosperity.

Professor Peter Fisher, a leading expert on state economic development policy, looked at the economic performance of read more

Kentucky Job Growth Continues To Be Too Slow

By Jason Bailey
July 23, 2012

Kentucky added only 700 net jobs in June, again failing to produce enough jobs to make a real dent in the employment gap created by the recession. Kentucky needs to be adding 3,500 jobs a month in order to return to pre-recession unemployment rates within three years. Over the last three months, the state has been adding only 1,700 jobs a month on average.

There are clear ways for Congress to jumpstart employment growth if the will to act were there. It should be providing expanded aid to state and read more

Report’s Findings Suggest Kentucky’s Business Tax Incentives Not Very Cost-Effective Way to Create Jobs

By Jason Bailey
July 19, 2012

Put into context, the findings of a consulting group report to the Kentucky legislature suggest that state economic development incentive programs are not a very cost-effective way to create jobs—a result that is in line with other studies on this topic.

The report is the outgrowth of House Joint Resolution 5 in the 2011 Kentucky General Assembly, which required a study of the state’s incentives to attract business. Anderson Economic Group produced the report under contract with the legislature.

A challenge in determining whether incentive programs are cost-effective is the read more

Report Estimates Medicaid Expansion Could Actually Save Kentucky Money

By Jason Bailey
July 5, 2012

We previously reported (here and here) that the state will likely incur little cost associated with the expansion of Medicaid beginning in 2014 to around 300,000 Kentuckians. But in fact the expansion could actually save the state between $140 million and $828 million over the first six years of the law, according to a report by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report estimates that the expansion of Medicaid to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level will cost Kentucky $547 read more

Medicaid Expansion is a Very Good Deal for Kentucky

By Jason Bailey
June 28, 2012

The 2014 expansion of Medicaid in the Affordable Care Act will benefit Kentuckians substantially, while the federal government will largely pick up the bill. According to one analysis, Kentucky will see a 37.3 percent increase in Medicaid enrollment at only a 3.5 percent increase in state Medicaid costs.

A major way in which the Affordable Care Act will increase health insurance coverage is by expanding Medicaid to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line ($26,344 for a family of three in 2012). That could mean read more

Supreme Court Ruling Allows Kentucky to Move Forward on Addressing Health Challenges

By Jason Bailey
June 28, 2012

The Supreme Court’s decision today to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is good news for Kentucky, a state with tremendous health challenges and a growing number of families that struggle to afford health care coverage.

More than one in seven Kentuckians lack health insurance, but when the ACA is fully implemented in 2014 around half of the uninsured will obtain insurance through the expansion of Medicaid to the working poor. Many thousands more individuals and employees of small businesses will gain coverage through access to a health insurance exchange read more

Immigrant Entrepreneurs Help Grow Kentucky Economy

By Jason Bailey
June 18, 2012

A new report shows that one in six small business owners in the United States is an immigrant, while in Kentucky immigrants play a disproportionately large role as business owners relative to their small population.

In Kentucky, according to the report by the Fiscal Policy Institute, immigrants make up 4.6 percent of business owners while constituting only 2.8 percent of the population. Immigrants are more likely to be business owners in Kentucky than U.S.-born workers. Business owners make up 3.4 percent of the foreign-born labor force in Kentucky, and 2.8 read more

Budget Cuts Lead to Job Losses

By Jason Bailey
June 8, 2012

News of layoffs at the University of Kentucky follows stories of pending job loss at the Fayette County health department. Both announcements can be linked to the 11 rounds of cuts the legislature has made to the state budget, which have reduced funding for many state functions by 15-30 percent or more.

Job growth in the economy remains slow, and budget cuts at all levels are making matters worse. Those cuts are resulting in the direct elimination of jobs—both through layoffs and by agencies and organizations not hiring for open read more