KY Policy Blog

Charter School Legislation Passes, But Questions and Concerns Remain About Funding

By Pam Thomas
March 17, 2017

The Kentucky General Assembly gave final approval to charter schools in the waning days of the 2017 legislative session after heated and lengthy debate in both chambers. The approval came in two parts, with the operating provisions included in House Bill 520 and the funding provisions in House Bill 471. The funding provisions in HB 471 raise new questions about how the funding for charter schools would actually work and many of the concerns we previously expressed continue as charter schools will inevitably divert funding away from our state’s existing read more

Funding and Accountability Concerns Still Apply to Senate Version of Charter Bill

By Ashley Spalding
March 15, 2017

An amended version of House Bill 520 passed the Senate Education committee this morning and is now heading to the Senate floor. The changes made to the bill were relatively minor and the concerns we expressed previously still apply.

The changes made to the version of HB 520 that passed the Senate include clarification around definitions (for instance, which mayors can be authorizers); when a traditional public school can convert to a charter; teacher qualifications; and the lottery process that occurs when more students are interested in attending a charter read more

More Federal Budget Cuts Would Especially Harm Kentucky

By Anna Baumann
March 13, 2017

More than one out of every three dollars Kentucky spends each year on health care, education, job training, child care, transportation and other critical programs comes from the federal government. These resources are now at risk of being cut deeply in President Trump’s forthcoming budget proposal this week, the ACA repeal and other looming Congressional attempts to slash programs Americans rely on.

A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that 37 percent of total spending by the Commonwealth comes from the federal government, compared to read more

What’s at Stake in ACA Repeal by Kentucky Congressional District

By Dustin Pugel
March 10, 2017

Kentucky is among the states that gained the most from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Our rate of uninsured dropped dramatically, more people are getting needed preventive care, and already, Kentuckians are reporting having better health. Kentucky’s 5th congressional district has the 3rd largest decrease in the percent of people uninsured of all 435 districts, and has the 3rd largest number of people enrolled in the Medicaid expansion.

All of these historic gains are at stake now with the American Health Care Act (AHCA), designed to repeal and replace the read more

House Health Repeal Plan Would Worsen Kentucky’s Drug Problems

By Ashley Spalding
March 10, 2017

The devastating impacts of Kentucky’s opioid epidemic are well known and far-reaching. As a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more Kentuckians struggling with addiction problems have been able to access much-needed treatment. However, the House GOP plan to repeal the ACA, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), would roll back opportunities for treatment — inevitably worsening the drug and overdose crisis in our state.

While the opioid addiction epidemic is a national problem, Kentucky has been one of the hardest hit states. In 2000, nine counties in the read more

Coverage for Kentucky Seniors Threatened by House Plan

By Jason Bailey
March 9, 2017

The House GOP plan repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes a number of measures that would reduce coverage and affordability for Kentucky’s older adults. If the proposal becomes law, more seniors will fall into poverty or lose access to care.

One element of the plan involves a change in tax credits. The ACA provides credits to help people buy coverage in the insurance marketplaces. These credits are bigger for low-income people and phase out as incomes increase. The House plan changes those credits so they are no longer based read more

House Plan Unwinds Coverage Gains and Makes Harmful Changes to Medicaid Program

By Dustin Pugel
March 7, 2017

By several measures, Kentucky has been the nation’s biggest winner from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Nearly seven years later, those gains and more are at risk in the recently released American Health Care Act (AHCA) – which not only fails to replace the ACA, but goes beyond it to restructure the Medicaid program in a way that will further reduce access to coverage and benefits. Together, these changes will rip health insurance away from 24 million Americans according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Proposal Unravels Medicaid Expansion and Restructures read more

Big Funding Concerns with Amended Charter Bill

By Ashley Spalding
March 3, 2017

The amended version of House Bill 520 — the charter school legislation that passed the House today — rightly prohibits virtual charter schools, but other changes made to the bill raise new issues and concerns. There are big problems and unanswered questions with how the funding for charter schools will work, and funds for existing public schools — which are already stretched thin — continue to be in jeopardy.

Here are some of the changes made in HB 520’s committee substitute:

Changes that addressed concerns expressed about earlier drafts: Virtual read more

Tax Credit Doesn’t Help Kentucky Schools and Kids

By Anna Baumann
March 3, 2017

A recent op-ed from the sponsors of private school tax credit proposals in this year’s General Assembly suggests the program would help provide educational opportunities to families in need and save the state and local schools money. But “Ed Choice” tax credits are simply back-door private school vouchers aimed at shifting resources. They reduce the dollars available for public education, limiting schools’ ability to help low-income children succeed.

The Legislative Research Commission is the source of the $76 million price tag on the bills in the program’s sixth year. In read more

Undocumented Immigrants Contribute $37 Million Toward Investments in Kentucky Each Year

By Anna Baumann
March 2, 2017

Undocumented immigrants living in Kentucky pay $36.6 million in state and local taxes each year, according to a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. These substantial tax contributions should be acknowledged as lawmakers consider the economic and social impact of immigration policy and enforcement in the U.S. – including a recent executive order that expands the groups of immigrants prioritized for removal and a surge in deportations that involved 53 arrests in Kentucky, many of the detainees lacking criminal records and others with only minor offenses. read more