KY Policy Blog

Report on County Jails Shows Why We Need Additional Criminal Justice Reforms

By Ashley Spalding
May 19, 2017

A recently released report from the state Legislative Research Commission (LRC) raises the alarm around the growing number of state inmates housed in county jails. This trend underscores the need for serious criminal justice reforms in Kentucky beyond the first step reentry measures passed in the 2017 General Assembly.

Kentucky ranked second highest in the nation for the imprisonment of state and federal inmates in local facilities as of 2014, the report shows. Close to half of the state’s inmates are now housed in county jails — 11,000 inmates as read more

Any Way You Slice It, A Shift To Consumption Taxes Will Hurt Kentucky

By Anna Baumann
May 19, 2017

There are two main reasons why shifting from income taxes to sales taxes would be bad for Kentucky:

Doing so would make our tax system more regressive than it already is (asking lower- and middle-income families to pay an even larger share of their income in taxes to pay for tax cuts for higher-income families;) and The shift would further reduce revenue growth that is needed to meet our obligations and invest in our schools, infrastructure and other building blocks of thriving communities.

These consequences of upside-down tax shifting are read more

Critical Poverty-Reducing Programs at Risk in Upcoming Trump Budget

By Ashley Spalding
May 17, 2017

News reports suggest President Trump’s full budget proposal, slated for release next week, will include deep cuts to federal safety net programs that provide crucial supports for low-income Kentuckians and help boost our economy in hard times. These cuts to so-called mandatory programs (meaning spending is determined by how many people are eligible) are on top of expected cuts to important non-defense discretionary programs we wrote about previously and were targeted for cuts in President Trump’s initial “skinny budget” proposal in March.

Safety net programs potentially at risk provide what read more

Kentucky Has Nation’s Most Rural Medicaid Expansion Enrollees, and AHCA Would Take That Away

By Dustin Pugel
May 16, 2017

For largely rural states like Kentucky, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a major boon for health coverage. There are 223,700 rural Medicaid expansion enrollees in Kentucky, more than any other state according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Fully half of Kentucky’s expansion population lives in a rural area, compared to 15 percent of expansion enrollees across the country. But the American Health Care Act (AHCA) puts those rural gains, and much more, in jeopardy.

The coverage gains Kentucky’s rural communities have experienced read more

Study of Indiana’s Medicaid Program a Warning Against Kentucky’s Plans to Charge Premiums

By Dustin Pugel
May 16, 2017

A recent evaluation of Indiana’s Medicaid waiver program should stand as a warning for Kentucky policymakers attempting to similarly charge premiums in our own Medicaid program. While proponents of Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver proposal say charging premiums wouldn’t be a barrier to coverage and care for low-income Kentuckians, the findings of the study of Indiana’s waiver suggest otherwise.

One aspect of Indiana’s Medicaid waiver program, “Healthy Indiana Program 2.0,” (HIP 2.0), is a requirement that enrollees make monthly contributions to a type of Health Savings Account called a POWER Account. The read more

Kentucky Moms Deserve Better

By Anna Baumann
May 12, 2017

More than 488,000 women in Kentucky are raising an estimated 919,711 children under the age of 18. These biological, step, adopted and foster moms, grandmothers and other relatives and their children would benefit from policies that better support employment, job quality and economic security for Kentucky women.

Supporting Pregnant and New Moms at Work

Pregnancy and childbirth are a normal part of life for women: national data show that more than four out of five become mothers. An estimated 55,759 Kentucky women gave birth over the last year, 63 percent read more

Proposed Health Care Changes Would Hurt Kentucky’s Moms

By Dustin Pugel
May 12, 2017

Women, and mothers in particular, are especially at risk of losing access to healthcare if the American Health Care Act (AHCA) becomes law. While millions of Americans stand to lose coverage, the AHCA is especially harmful to mothers who rely on coverage offered and protected by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for pregnancy, birth, family planning and other needs, as recently reported by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Medicaid works for mothers

One core part of the AHCA that has nothing to do with the ACA at all read more

Job Recovery for Some Kentucky Counties, Second Recession for Others

By Jason Bailey
May 5, 2017

When the Great Recession came at the end of 2007, all of Kentucky lost jobs. The U.S. economy hit bottom a couple of years later before starting to improve. Now the nation’s lost jobs as a whole are restored and the economy is strengthening, with some arguing the country is at or near full employment.

But when you dig down to the local level, the picture becomes less rosy — as the map below shows.

In Kentucky from 2009 to 2017, 32 counties experienced modest to strong job growth, with read more

Important Federal Investments in Kentucky’s Coal Communities at Risk

By Ashley Spalding
April 28, 2017

A panel at the East Kentucky Leadership Conference highlighted the importance of federal investments in addressing economic challenges in the state’s coal communities. With these funds at risk in the federal budget for 2018 and beyond, eastern Kentucky — and the broader Appalachian region — could be stalled in these important efforts.

At the conference a number of participants in projects funded by the federal POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative highlighted how these funds — reportedly approximately $20 million in Kentucky — are being used read more

The Many Harms of the American Health Care Act for Kentucky

By Jason Bailey
April 27, 2017

The House of Representatives is moving toward a possible vote Friday on an amended version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill contains the same harmful changes as before: it would dramatically reduce the number of Kentuckians with health coverage, make plans more expensive for those buying insurance through the marketplace and shift billions of dollars to the Kentucky state budget — all while providing large tax cuts to millionaires. And the amendments make the bill even worse, allowing read more