KY Policy Blog

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

House Budget Would Make College More Affordable for Kentuckians

By Ashley Spalding
March 18, 2016

In recent years, Kentucky has had among the largest state budget cuts to higher education in the nation and steepest tuition increases. By ending cuts to state universities and community colleges, making a big increase in funding for need-based financial need and creating a scholarship to end tuition for traditional-age community college students, the House budget would go a long way toward making a college education attainable for more Kentuckians.

No Cuts to State Universities and Community Colleges

The House budget does not include any cuts to the state’s public read more

House Minority Budget Doesn’t Put More Money into Education

By Jason Bailey
March 15, 2016

The House minority budget presented today keeps the governor’s proposed deep cuts to education and just makes modifications to how those cuts are implemented.

The budget essentially flat-funds the SEEK formula, Kentucky’s main funding program for K-12 schools, just as in the governor’s plan. The proposal also includes a nine percent cut to the non-SEEK funding category Learning and Results Services, just as in the governor’s budget.

However, unlike in the governor’s budget, the House GOP’s plan specifies where those cuts will fall. It deeply cuts funding for preschool by read more

It’s Kentucky’s Lack of Coverage and Poor Health that Are Unsustainable, Not Medicaid

By Jason Bailey
March 10, 2016

While the administration claims that Kentucky’s Medicaid program is “unsustainable,” in fact Medicaid is a big benefit to Kentucky as it fills critical coverage gaps, improves health, injects dollars into communities and saves money in the budget previously spent on the uninsured.

Medicaid Is Helping Kentucky Cope with Economic Changes Medicaid costs aren’t up because of any flaw in the program, but because of the impact of more people qualifying for Medicaid in a challenging economy.

The bottom fell out in the Great Recession, with 119,000 Kentuckians losing their jobs. 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

Criminal Justice Reform Bill Would Save State Money and Reduce Recidivism

By Ashley Spalding
March 2, 2016

While our state has taken some important steps in passing criminal justice reform legislation in 2011, additional reforms are needed. HB 412, a bill sponsored by Representative Yonts, would further the legacy of 2011’s Public Safety and Offender Accountability Act (HB 463) by reducing time spent in jail/prison for certain non-violent offenses, increasing economic opportunities for some offenders and saving the state money. Kentucky is in particular need of additional reform measures given the increases in the inmate population, as shown in the graph below, and associated spending that has 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