KY Policy Blog

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

Undocumented Immigrants in Kentucky Pay $37 million in State and Local Taxes, Would Increase with Legal Status

By Anna Baumann
February 24, 2016

Undocumented immigrants contribute to the Kentucky communities in which they live and work in a number of ways, including through taxes. Because immigration reform would provide a pathway for full compliance with tax laws — as well as improve immigrants’ ability to earn financial and human capital — it would also increase the taxes they pay.

A new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates the 45,000 undocumented immigrants living in Kentucky today pay $37 million every year in state and local taxes — at an effective read more

Cuts to Community Colleges Mean Disinvestment in Kentucky’s Primary Workforce Development Source

By Ashley Spalding
February 22, 2016

Governor Bevin’s interest in investing in workforce development is a notable priority. However, the approach outlined in his budget proposal decreases investment in the state’s primary site of workforce development: its community colleges.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) is by far the state’s largest workforce development program. In 2015 the state budgeted $185.9 million for academic programs and employer services and an additional $5.6 million specifically for workforce development and training at KCTCS, according to the Legislative Research Commission’s Office of Budget Review. That far exceeds spending read more

Infographic: Kentucky Higher Education Cuts Among Worst in Country

By Kenny Colston
February 18, 2016

Even as most states have begun to restore funding for higher education after cuts during the recession, Kentucky has continued to reduce funding as outlined a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Continued cuts will make it harder for the state to grow and attract businesses that rely on a well-educated workforce.  To reverse these disturbing trends, Kentucky needs to make higher education a greater priority. In order to make sure the Commonwealth has enough money to fund higher education adequately, lawmakers need to commit to revenue-raising read more

Tuition Freeze Is Not Proper Answer to College Affordability Problem Given Large, Continuous Budget Cuts

By Ashley Spalding
February 17, 2016

With the steep increases in tuition at Kentucky’s public universities and community colleges in recent years, a state mandated tuition freeze as proposed in SB 75 might sound like a good idea. But even with past tuition increases, the state’s higher education institutions are facing significant funding shortfalls once the growth in fixed costs like health insurance and utilities, on top of General Fund cuts, are taken into consideration.

Even while additional state cuts to higher education are being proposed, proponents of a tuition freeze assert that Kentucky’s public universities read more