KY Policy Blog

What Would Budget Cuts to the Attorney General and Board of Elections Mean?

By Ashley Spalding
February 15, 2016

Many Kentuckians may not be aware of the important role that some state agencies play in our everyday lives. When we hear about proposed cuts to the Attorney General, Secretary of State or the Board of Elections, for instance, we may not be particularly concerned. But these agencies play critical roles in protecting the public and safeguarding democracy in our state.

Kentucky’s Attorney General is tasked with:

Addressing Kentucky’s drug epidemic through enforcement and by directing settlement proceeds to drug treatment programs. Prosecuting crimes — i.e., public corruption investigations and read more

Infographic: Budget Cuts Have Costs and Consequences

By Kenny Colston
February 10, 2016

Governor Bevin’s budget includes nine percent across the board cuts to most state services. If these cuts go into effect, many areas will have been cut by 15 to 50 percent since 2008. The infographic below highlights some potential harmful effects from such cuts.

Budget Cuts Infographic read more

What’s Not Exempt from Cuts in the Governor’s Budget

By Jason Bailey
February 3, 2016

While a lot of attention has been given to what receives new dollars in the governor’s budget and what’s exempted from additional cuts, less attention has been given to what is not exempt. While the budget bill doesn’t specify exactly where cuts of 9 percent (4.5 percent this fiscal year) will apply, it’s clear which cabinets, agencies and programs are not spared from potential cuts.

Below is a partial list of areas that are vulnerable to the cuts. If certain programs or agencies are spared, even deeper cuts will need read more

Raising Minimum Wage Would Reduce Spending on Medicaid

By Dustin Pugel
December 4, 2015

Those advocating to scale back Kentucky’s highly-successful Medicaid expansion cite a concern about its cost to the state. One way to help buffer costs would be to raise the minimum wage in Kentucky to $10.10 per hour, which would reduce the state’s spending on Medicaid by an estimated $34 million each year according to research by the Center for American Progress.

An increase of the minimum wage to $10.10 would directly impact an estimated 304,000 Kentucky workers, 16,700 of whom would see their earnings increase to the point that they read more

Shutting Down Kynect Would Take Money From Other Important Priorities

By Kenny Colston
November 23, 2015

According to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, it will cost at least $23 million to dismantle Kynect, the state’s insurance marketplace. Using those funds to end the program would mean taking money from other important priorities.

Saving Kynect FINAL

Click to enlarge infographic read more

Pension Needs Far Exceed Likely Revenue Growth in 2017

By Jason Bailey
August 25, 2015

The state needs to find $580 million more to make its actuarially required General Fund contributions to pension plans in the first year of the next budget, according to information shared with the Public Pension Oversight Board yesterday. But the state is currently expecting only $278 million in new General Fund revenue that same year — or less than half of what it needs for pensions alone — according to a recent draft estimate from the state’s Consensus Forecasting Group.

Presentations from the state budget director and retirement system officials read more

Despite Good Growth in 2015, Erosion Still Hurting Revenue

By Anna Baumann
August 3, 2015

The good news is Kentucky’s economy grew faster in budget year 2015, and tax revenue grew with it — by $505 million, or 5.3 percent, compared to budget year 2014. Individual income growth, high corporate profits, increases in consumer spending and a strong stock market contributed to the new revenue.

Nominally, individual income taxes grew the most, by $320 million (8.5 percent). Relatively, corporate income taxes grew the most by 11.2 percent ($53 million). The sales tax also grew by $136 million, or 4.4 percent.

The bad news is erosion read more

Retirement Income Growing Much Faster than Wages, Spelling Trouble for State Revenues

By Jason Bailey
July 14, 2015

Kentucky must begin an active search for revenue options to begin fully paying down our pension debt and make public investments that will move the state forward. One issue that must be on the table is the state’s huge exemption of retirement income from the income tax — especially given that retirement income has been growing in recent years even while the wage income Kentucky does tax has been more sluggish.

From 2007 to 2012 (the latest year available), retirement income from pensions and IRA distributions in Kentucky increased by read more

Road Fund Helped by 2015 Fix but Still Feeling Funding Challenges

By Anna Baumann
July 10, 2015

Kentucky ended budget year 2015 with a $20 million shortfall in Road Fund receipts, meaning slightly less money has come in than what was budgeted to invest in and maintain our transportation network.

Drops in the average wholesale price of gasoline — to which Kentucky’s gas tax is tied — are largely to blame. Taken together, all other Road Fund revenue was essentially flat with 0.3 percent growth, but gas tax receipts fell by 4.0 percent compared to budget year 2014. In dollars, the gas tax generated $35.9 million less read more

Year-End Revenues Highlight Importance of Individual Income Tax

By Jason Bailey
July 10, 2015

Kentucky ended its budget year with General Fund revenues $165.4 million more than anticipated, equaling growth of 5.3 percent from the year before. The individual income tax is the main source of this bit of good news because of its ability to generate revenue from wealthier individuals whose incomes have soared in recent years.

For the year, individual income tax receipts grew 8.5 percent compared to 2014, meaning all other revenue grew by only 3.2 percent. Sixty-three percent of total net new revenue for the year was from the individual read more