KY Policy Blog

COVID-19 Downturn Is Hitting Certain Industries and Regions of the State Especially Hard

By Dustin Pugel
May 28, 2020

Kentucky lost 15.5% of its jobs in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic with industries like hotels, restaurants and manufacturing especially hard hit. Because urban areas tend to have more jobs in these sectors, they also had a higher rate of job loss than rural parts of the state. Continued and significantly expanded federal fiscal relief will be needed to address sinking state and local revenues, ensure individuals out of work can get by, prevent further job loss and shorten the recession.

COVID-19 job losses felt across all industries

Every read more

What’s in the HEROES Act for Kentucky

By Dustin Pugel and Jason Bailey
May 22, 2020

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the HEROES Act, a bill that would provide the kind of substantial economic relief Kentucky and other states need in the face of the COVID-19 recession. The Senate must now join the House and agree to a relief package that adequately supports families, governments and businesses through this crisis and sets the stage for a robust economic recovery when the pandemic is eventually behind us.

Here are what major elements of the HEROES Act would mean for Kentucky:

Substantial relief to state and read more

Cities and Counties Need Federal Relief to Continue Providing Crucial Services

By Pam Thomas
May 21, 2020

As with states, local governments in Kentucky and nationwide need significant federal relief if they are to continue providing crucial front line and community services through the COVID-19 pandemic. Measures preventing the spread of COVID-19 are deeply suppressing the economic activity that fuels local revenue receipts, and the significant impact on cities and counties is expected to continue over several years. Much more federal aid – as is proposed in the recently introduced HEROES Act – is needed to prevent painful cuts and avoid lengthening and deepening the economic downturn. read more

Medicaid Has Responded Quickly to COVID-19, Congress Should Boost Support

By Dustin Pugel
May 20, 2020

In March and April, Medicaid enrollment in Kentucky grew by 67,216, largely in response to COVID-19. This sudden increase in participation is a good sign that Medicaid, as a health insurance program for low-income Kentuckians, is responding exactly as it was designed to – including through a special, temporary form of coverage called presumptive eligibility (PE). To ensure Medicaid can continue to do its job without a huge strain on already cash-strapped state governments, Congress should provide additional funding through an increase in the federal share of the program spending. read more

SNAP Participation Has Jumped Due to COVID-19 Economic Crisis, Helping Blunt the Harm

By Dustin Pugel and Jessica Klein
May 13, 2020

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation in Kentucky has increased by 110,292 people since social distancing began to reduce transmission of COVID-19. This dramatic 22.9% increase since February reflects the hardship many are facing due to lost jobs and income. In addition to the steps already taken at the state and federal level to strengthen SNAP, Congress should further increase food security through a boost in SNAP’s modest benefit amounts.

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SNAP participation read more

To Protect Kentuckians from COVID-19, State Needs to Build on Already Significant Declines in Incarceration

By Ashley Spalding and Pam Thomas
May 1, 2020

In recent weeks, important steps have been taken to address the public health crisis posed by incarceration in Kentucky’s jails and prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in historic declines in incarceration in county jails and some modest declines in prisons. Yet all Kentuckians deserve to be healthy and safe, and more progress is needed to limit the spread of the disease. This analysis looks at the significant progress that has been made so far and what more needs to be done.

Precautions such as frequent hand washing and social read more

New Forecast Shows Collapse in State Tax Revenues from COVID-19

By Pam Thomas
April 30, 2020
Kentucky’s General Fund tax revenues will crater in the coming months due to the COVID-19 downturn, according to a new unofficial forecast released today by the Office of the State Budget Director (OSBD). The forecast offers both a “control” and “pessimistic” scenario, and estimates that General Fund revenues in the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year will be 18.2% to 23.7% less than the same period last year. For the first two quarters of the next fiscal year, revenues are expected to fall between 10.5% and 17.2%.

The numbers read more

Nearly One in Three Kentucky Workers May Be Out of a Job

By Dustin Pugel
April 30, 2020

Although March’s official unemployment rate was 5.8%, once the unprecedentedly high volume of unemployment insurance claims made over the last 6 weeks is taken into account, Kentucky’s actual jobless rate could be as high as 32%. This number far exceeds historical peaks in the official unemployment rate in Kentucky – which hit 13.2% in 1983 and 11.9% in 2010 at the depths of the Great Recession.

Keeping people at home – and in many cases out of work –  is key to ensuring the reduction of COVID-19 infections. But it read more

228,300 Kentuckians Have Likely Lost Health Coverage Since the Beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Jessica Klein
April 28, 2020

In the context of unprecedented job loss due to COVID-19, much attention has rightly been paid to the surge in unemployment insurance claims. In Kentucky, unemployment claims have been stacking up since the necessary stay-at-home orders and business and school closures in late March, and now stand at almost 500,000 claims. An important consequence of rising unemployment is that because many Kentuckians have health insurance through their employers, approximately 228,300 Kentuckians have likely also lost their health care coverage.

A recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute estimates 45.7% of read more

Who Are Kentucky’s Essential Workers on the Frontlines of the COVID-19 Pandemic?

By Jessica Klein
April 21, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic impacts all people but creates distinct challenges for the 422,000 Kentuckians working on the frontlines of the response, known as essential workers. Frontline industries –  which require public interaction to help people meet basic needs and are too critical to be closed during the pandemic – include grocery stores and pharmacies, cleaning services, trucking and warehousing, public transportation, health care, and child care and social services.

These positions have always been essential, yet many are underpaid and under-protected.  A new analysis from the Center for Economic and read more