KY Policy Blog

Pension Benefits Inject $3.4 Billion into the Economies of Kentucky Counties

By Jason Bailey
June 6, 2017

As the governor and General Assembly consider additional cuts to pension benefits for employees, it’s important to understand the role such benefits play in local economies. In 2016, public retirees of the Kentucky Employees’ Retirement System, State Police Retirement System, County Employees Retirement System and Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System received pensions totaling $3.4 billion.  That’s the economic equivalent of an entire industry — for comparison, the accommodations and food services industry in Kentucky generated $4.5 billion in earnings in 2015 while the construction industry generated $7 billion, according to the read more

The Health Care Repeal Bill Would Double What Kentucky Must Pay for Medicaid Expansion

By Dustin Pugel
June 6, 2017

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) ends extra federal funding for states that expanded Medicaid eligibility, meaning Kentucky would have to increase its Medicaid expansion funding 111 percent to make up the difference. This $404.9 million increase in state spending would almost certainly lead to Kentucky ending coverage for the 472,000 Kentuckians insured through the expansion.

How Is Medicaid Paid for In Kentucky?

Medicaid is a shared state-federal program, and federal government pays states differently for their traditional Medicaid population depending on how well-off people are in each state. For read more

Trump Budget Makes It Harder for Low-Income Kentuckians to Climb Economic Ladder

By Ashley Spalding
June 2, 2017

In President Trump’s budget proposal, cuts to critical programs that help low-income Kentuckians are primarily justified as a way to move more people into the workforce. However, the budget proposal would actually makes it more difficult for low-income Kentuckians to be successful in the labor market — and would hurt many who are already working.

As noted in a recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a plan that would actually lead to increased employment and earnings for jobless or under-employed workers with low skills would read more

What Combined Federal Cuts to Medicaid Would Mean for Kentucky

By Dustin Pugel
June 2, 2017

Kentucky’s Medicaid program is potentially facing enormous cuts to federal funding through the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and President Trump’s proposed budget. Nationwide, Medicaid as a whole would undergo a $1.4 trillion combined cut over the next ten years, a 45 percent reduction in funding by 2026 compared to current law. This cut would have the devastating effect of making coverage for low-income Kentuckians much harder to get and use — including children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and seniors.

The Cuts Would Be Made in Different Ways, All read more

CBO Shows 23 Million Would Lose Coverage Under Health Care Repeal Bill

By Dustin Pugel
May 24, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) review of the health care repeal bill passed by the House weeks ago estimates that 23 million Americans would lose coverage, many low-income and older individuals’ health care costs would rise, and people with poor health would be left with unusable and unaffordable insurance options. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) would unravel the healthcare gains Kentucky has experienced in the last three years and go beyond that by inflicting ongoing damage to the original Medicaid program.

Kentucky’s uninsured would dramatically rise.

The main portion read more

Food Assistance Cuts in Trump Budget Would Have a Devastating Impact on Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
May 24, 2017

The deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) in President Trump’s budget proposal would be devastating to Kentucky — particularly in rural parts of the state. SNAP provides critical assistance to prevent low-income Kentuckians from going hungry, lifts many out of poverty and leads to better outcomes for children in struggling households. The proposed cuts to SNAP are made by shifting 25 percent of the cost to states, putting pressure on them to reduce benefits and make cuts to the program that include imposing a read more

What Trump Budget Proposal Would Mean for Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
May 23, 2017

President Trump’s full budget proposal released today includes harsh, devastating cuts to critical poverty-reducing programs that provide health, nutrition and financial assistance to many Kentuckians. The budget also includes drastic cuts to federal grants to states that improve our economy and quality of life and provide needed assistance to Kentucky’s most vulnerable. The rural areas of our state, which continue to experience the greatest economic challenges, would be hit particularly hard.

Mandatory Federal Programs

President Trump’s budget proposal includes harmful cuts to so-called mandatory programs (meaning spending is determined by read more

Angel Investor Tax Credit Program is an Overly-Generous Subsidy for Wealthy Investors

By Pam Thomas
May 23, 2017

Kentucky’s angel investor tax credit program is touted as a way to encourage investment in start-up companies. But because it is overly generous to investors, fails to target start-ups exclusively and lacks adequate evaluation mechanisms, there are reasons to question its cost-effectiveness.

Angel investor tax credit programs are offered in more than 20 states. They are promoted as a way to encourage investors to support start-up and early stage ventures for which it is sometimes difficult to access the capital needed to begin or expand operations — especially in risky read more

Health Care Repeal Bill Would Squeeze In-Home Health Services for Elderly & Disabled Kentuckians

By Dustin Pugel
May 19, 2017

Important services that enable Kentuckians to receive needed care at home and in the community, rather than an institutional setting like a nursing home, will be cut back if the American Health Care Act (AHCA) becomes law.

There are currently 39,289 Kentuckians who receive Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) through Medicaid. These individuals include participants in the Supports for Community Living and Michelle P. Waiver programs, for which there is already unmet need. Because the AHCA makes permanent cuts to the traditional Medicaid program over time, the state likely read more

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