KY Policy Blog

Five Challenges Kentucky College Students Face in 2016

By Ashley Spalding
August 22, 2016

Kentucky college students face barriers and challenges as they begin a new academic year, some of which are worsening as a result of yet another round of state budget cuts to higher educational institutions.

Tuition Continues to Rise

Tuition at public universities and community colleges has been on the rise in Kentucky for years, largely as a result of state budget cuts. As we’ve described elsewhere, while Kentucky continues to cut funding for higher education most states are increasing funding. The most recent cuts have led to more tuition increases read more

Kentucky’s Revenue Not Keeping Up with Economy

By Micah Johnson
August 16, 2016

As Kentucky’s economy continues to grow, the state’s revenue intake reflects that growth less and less. Just over the last year from fiscal year 2015 to 2016, state personal income (a good measure of economic growth) grew by 4.7 percent in the Commonwealth, but the state’s General Fund grew by only 3.7 percent.

The disparity is reflective of a 25-year trend in which revenue hasn’t been keeping up with the economy. That means instead of being able to reliably maintain our investments in excellent schools, affordable higher education, job training read more

Kentucky’s Schools Face Funding Challenges as Kids Head Back to School

By Ashley Spalding
August 8, 2016

As kids return to school across the Commonwealth, they face continued frozen state funding that amounts to a reduction once inflation is taken into account. The lack of state funding increases for schools threatens educational gains Kentucky has made in the past and is leading to a growing gap between rich and poor schools.

Kentucky’s cuts among the biggest

Last year’s report on K-12 funding by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ranked Kentucky 6th worst in the nation when it comes to cuts in per-student core formula funding read more

Five Takeaways from Kentucky’s Year-End Revenue Results

By Anna Baumann
July 12, 2016

Revenue receipts are in for June 2016, the final month of Kentucky’s last Fiscal Year (FY), showing modestly strong General Fund growth of 3.7 percent since 2015. Here are five big takeaways:

Revenue Growth Itself Isn’t Remarkable as It Almost Always Grows from Year to Year

Kentucky collected $372 million more in FY 2016 than in FY 2015. And while this increase shows Kentucky’s economy is growing – with people earning and spending more, thus paying more income and sales taxes, for example – it is the norm for our read more

Rising Kentucky Prison Population Should Make Penal Code Reform a 2017 Priority

By Ashley Spalding
June 21, 2016

The governor’s announcement today about the formation of a Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council to work toward needed reforms is an important step in addressing a serious problem in our state. The latest data from the Department of Corrections (DOC) shows Kentucky’s inmate population has been rising rapidly, far above the state’s projections. Without additional criminal justice reforms, the number of incarcerated Kentuckians will likely continue to increase, costing the state money needed for other vital public investments and harming Kentucky families without improving public safety.

inmate population

Source: Kentucky Department of read more

Understanding Pension Contributions in the Final Budget

By Jason Bailey
May 26, 2016

The issue of pensions for Kentucky public employees and teachers is complex, and the two main pension systems — the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) and the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS) — are in distinct but related predicaments.

While a number of factors are at play in the conditions facing these funds, the primary reason for the challenges facing them is the failure of the General Assembly in the past to make the actuarially required contribution (ARC). The ARC is the amount of money that should be contributed annually to read more

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