KY Policy Blog

Governor Vetoes Need-Based Scholarships for Thousands of Students

By Jason Bailey
April 28, 2016

Governor Bevin vetoed $40.3 million in funding for need-based college scholarships contained in House Bill 10, meaning denied aid for nearly 22,000 low-income students that had been awarded by the General Assembly. This is at the same time the budget cuts funding for higher education by 4.5 percent, leading to tuition hikes at the public universities and community colleges.

The governor’s vetoes also delay the start of the Work Ready Scholarship, a program designed to help some traditional-age students pursue associate’s degrees, by one year from 2017 to 2018. That read more

What Are Taxes For?

By Anna Baumann
April 18, 2016

Since completing forms and mailing off checks may not inspire reflection on the bigger purpose of taxes, here’s a Tax Day reminder of what we are chipping in for:

Through our local, state and federal governments, our tax dollars are pooled together and invested in schools and universities, roads and bridges, social services for vulnerable children and adults and other public services essential for shared prosperity and thriving communities in the Commonwealth.

In other words, taxes are a critical tool for doing important things together we cannot do alone. Here read more

What the Cuts Would Mean: A Look at How Kentucky Is Hurt By Proposed Disinvestments

By Anna Baumann
March 25, 2016

In a new video describing the importance of Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSCs) and Extended School Services (ESS) – programs the Senate budget cuts – Jackie Butts, a 6th Grade Language Arts teacher at Tichenor Middle School in northern Kentucky, says “when we talk about money, a lot of times people forget … there are students behind that money.”

As legislators head into final negotiations on the state budget, it’s a good time to remember that all services on the chopping block have people and purpose behind them. read more

House Budget Does Not Restore Many Crucial Services for Vulnerable Kentuckians

By Anna Baumann
March 18, 2016

The House budget bill builds on Governor Bevin’s proposed funding for KTRS and KERS and rightly restores his cuts to P-12 and higher education. However, it maintains reductions to other budget areas, including parts of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) that serve Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens.

The House budget appropriates a total of $2.5 billion in 2017 and $2.7 billion in 2018 from the General Fund (GF) to the Cabinet – just over $12 million (or 0.5 percent) more each year than the Governor proposed. $10.6 million read more

Why the House Budget Approach Is Better than a Big Set Aside of Idle Funds

By Jason Bailey
March 18, 2016

The major point of difference between the governor’s budget and the House budget concerns the use of idle funds. The governor’s plan sets aside $500 million in a new so-called permanent fund and $241 million more than the House in the state’s rainy day fund, while the House plan uses those funds to reduce budget cuts and increase direct payments to the underfunded pension systems.

The House plan is a better approach for this budget because it limits harm to critical education systems, gets us on the right path for read more

Budget Should Move Forward on Early Childhood, Not Back

By Dustin Pugel
March 10, 2016

Quality early childhood education, through child care and preschool, has been shown to have multiple layers of value:

It helps the economy by generating jobs and economic activity, as well as savings from reduced public expenditures later in a child’s life. It helps parents by allowing them the freedom to work or go back to school to build the skills necessary to advance their careers. And children benefit from quality early childhood education immediately, making them more likely to be prepared for Kindergarten, as well as into adulthood, when they read more

Cuts to Adult Education Would Decrease Access to GED Credential

By Ashley Spalding
February 25, 2016

The cuts in the governor’s budget proposal would hit Kentucky Adult Education (KYAE) hard — reducing Kentuckians’ access to the supports needed to prepare for and pass the GED test. GED diploma attainment is a critical economic development issue, and the state has faced dramatic declines in GED graduates in recent years.

Adult education is essential to boosting educational attainment in the state, which can mean greater employment opportunities, increased earnings and the capacity to contribute more in taxes. Yet in 2013, 360,830 working age Kentuckians – 13.1 percent – read more

Three Steps to a Better Budget this Session

By Jason Bailey
February 25, 2016

The General Assembly has less than two months to finalize the next two-year state budget. Although the governor’s budget rightly takes a big step toward fully funding our pension liabilities, taken as a whole his plan would send the state backwards by deeply slashing the systems Kentucky relies on for the well-being of its citizens.

We don’t need to make such a painful choice. Kentucky can have a budget this session that more aggressively pays down our debt while better protecting education, human services and other vital investments needed to read more

Coal County Services Harmed by Severance Tax Collapse at Time of Transition

By Anna Baumann
February 24, 2016

A steep decline in the production of coal in recent years has reduced severance tax dollars going to Kentucky’s General Fund and back to coal counties, stretching already tight state and local budgets even further. In 2015, coal severance tax receipts were just 62 percent of what they were at their peak in 2009, and the forecast for the biennium estimates that in 2018, they’ll be down $185 million from 2009 receipts.

In yesterday’s meeting of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, legislators heard testimony from coal county judge executives read more

Cuts to Property Valuation Administrators Counterproductive

By Ashley Spalding
February 24, 2016

Kentucky’s Property Valuation Administrators (PVAs) testified to a House budget review subcommittee yesterday that proposed budget cuts could compromise the state’s ability to generate property tax revenue. Such cuts may be counterproductive because by undermining our ability to collect revenue they can worsen budget problems.

Kentucky counts on property taxes to help fund state services, school districts and local governments. In 2014, total real and tangible property tax revenue to the state totaled $2.8 billion. About $1.4 billion of those dollars are generated locally for schools.

Collecting that revenue depends read more