KY Policy Blog

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

The Problem of Low Wages in Kentucky

By Jason Bailey
June 8, 2012

The economy is growing, but job growth is happening way too slowly. To make matters worse, low wages keep many of those Kentucky workers with jobs from meeting their families’ basic needs.

In Kentucky, the big job losses since the beginning of the recession have been in middle-skill industries like manufacturing and construction that have historically meant middle-class wages for workers without a college education. Kentucky has lost a net 35,400 manufacturing jobs since December 2007 and 18,800 construction jobs.1

Decent jobs are going away, while wages at the low-paying read more

Senior Tax Breaks Don’t Attract Migrants

By Jason Bailey
June 1, 2012

Those arguing for state income tax cuts often claim that such cuts will result in the relocation of large numbers of people from other states, but the economic evidence simply doesn’t support those claims. As a recent survey of the research showed, people don’t migrate much in general, and those that move do so largely for family reasons or because they are attracted by quality of life, housing costs, job opportunities or weather—not taxes.

One variant on this claim is that tax cuts for seniors will make a state a read more

Spring Job Growth in Kentucky Slows, Big Gap Remains

By Jason Bailey
May 18, 2012

After stronger job increases over the winter, Kentucky’s employment growth slowed in the most recent two months with the state adding only 1,400 net jobs in March and 1,900 net jobs in April. That growth is far below what Kentucky needs to recover the huge job losses that happened during the recession and catch up with growth in the working age population. To close that deficit in three years, Kentucky needs to add an average of 4,500 jobs a month.

The figure below shows the state’s jobs deficit—the gap between read more