KY Policy Blog

Low Wages at Bottom Demonstrate Need for Policies that Boost Earnings

By Jason Bailey
February 8, 2017

Following meaningful wage growth in 2015, real wages dropped slightly for Kentucky workers in 2016 and are still below where they were back in 2001. With wages low for a broad swath of the workforce, the state needs policies that would lift earnings in order to boost local economies and ensure more families can make ends meet.

Workers at the 30th percentile of hourly wages in Kentucky (meaning 30 percent of workers make less and 70 percent make more) earned only $12.01 an hour in 2016, according to Current Population read more

Kentucky Should Reject Dangerous Call to Reopen Constitution

By Jason Bailey
February 7, 2017

The Kentucky General Assembly may consider resolutions (versions introduced as HJR 54, HCR 13 and SCR 143) that are part of a well-funded national effort calling for a new convention to rewrite the rules of American government — an idea that could create chaos and jeopardize the U.S. Constitution.

Since the founding of the country, the constitution has been amended 27 times. Each time, Congress passed amendments and then the states ratified them. But Article V of the constitution allows a second method: states can call for a new convention read more

Would Charter School Proposal Negatively Impact Funding of Kentucky’s Existing Public Schools?

By Ashley Spalding
February 6, 2017

One of the key questions about how charter school legislation would change education in Kentucky is how it would affect funding for traditional public schools. Looking at what has occurred in other states and how HB 103 proposes to fund charters, there are reasons for concern.

It might sound like adopting public charter schools would mean no harm to resources — traditional public schools would lose students to charter schools but would no longer bear the costs of educating them. But that’s not the case. As noted in a recent read more

Refugees, Immigrants Important to Kentucky and the Economy: An Overview of the Research

By Anna Baumann
February 1, 2017

From the promise to build a wall paid for by tariffs on Mexican imports and uncertainty about what will happen to DACA (which allows undocumented immigrants whose parents brought them to the U.S. as children to apply for a renewable reprieve from deportation), to a 120-day ban on refugee admissions and an indefinite ban for Syrians, President Trump’s actions and intimations around immigration have sparked outrage and a national debate.

The conversation should take into account immigrants’ integral role in our economy and communities where they work, do business, pay read more

Targeted Refugee Groups Make Important Contributions to Kentucky’s Communities and Economy

By Anna Baumann
January 31, 2017

Two recent reports from the Center for American Progress (CAP) explore the contributions immigrants and refugees make in our communities and local economies – including Syrians and Somalians, two groups targeted by President Trump’s executive order – and find high levels of economic participation.

Many Syrian Immigrants Are Building Lives in Kentucky

According to CAP, among states Kentucky resettled the 16th most Syrian refugees between January 2014 and December 2016 (Kentucky has the 26th largest population of all states). Since the crisis began in 2011, Kentucky has resettled 450 Syrian read more

Kentucky Would Have the Second Highest Rate of Job Loss With Healthcare Law Repeal

By Dustin Pugel
January 31, 2017

If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, Kentucky’s rate of job loss would be the second worst of any state with the elimination of an estimated 55,949 jobs or nearly 3 percent of the state’s workforce, according to a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

Kentucky’s job loss as a share of its employment would be higher than any other state except New Mexico.

The report also shows that repeal would take away $4.1 billion in federal spending from Kentucky’s economy while the tax cuts that would also be read more

130,000 Kentuckians in Individual Market Would Lose Coverage from Health Reform Repeal

By Dustin Pugel
January 26, 2017

A partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act would likely result in close to half a million people becoming uninsured in Kentucky, including those who buy health coverage directly from an insurance company. According to the Urban Institute, 130,000 Kentuckians who are individually insured would lose coverage. Because the ACA requires everyone to have insurance or face a penalty, a larger, healthier and younger pool of plan-holders has made it possible for insurance companies to cover people who have conditions that make them more expensive to cover like asthma, diabetes, read more

Mix of Criminal Justice Bills So Far in 2017 General Assembly

By Ashley Spalding
January 18, 2017

With Kentucky’s growing inmate population and high rates of recidivism, what we need in 2017 is legislation that will make these problems better, not worse. The criminal justice bills filed so far this session are a mix of both. While several bills could lead to fewer people being incarcerated or create more ways for Kentuckians with records to get a second chance, other bills would put more people in prison, particularly those struggling with addiction.

Here are some of the bills that could help to provide a second chance to read more

A County-by-County Look at Kentuckians at Risk if Congress Rolls Back Health Coverage

By Dustin Pugel
January 9, 2017

Nearly one in three Kentuckians has health insurance either through Medicaid or with a federally subsidized Qualified Health Plan (QHP) from the health insurance marketplace (formerly Kynect). If Congress moves forward with repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and making big structural changes to the traditional Medicaid program, Kentuckians across the state are at risk of losing coverage or having it weakened. We’ve previously described how an ACA repeal would hurt state-wide, but county and regional impacts would vary.

The map below shows the share of Kentuckians that have insurance read more

Job Growth Claims from Right to Work Not Backed by Evidence

By Anna Baumann
December 27, 2016

Proponents of Right-to-Work (RTW) argue that Kentucky would attract more jobs if such a law was in place, especially in manufacturing. But the evidence does not show our RTW neighbors have grown jobs more successfully than Kentucky in recent years, and academic research on the subject also doesn’t find a link between RTW and job growth.

Looking at statewide manufacturing job growth in Kentucky and our RTW neighbors, all are still below December 2007 employment levels before the Great Recession hit, but Kentucky is the closest to regaining the jobs read more