KY Policy Blog

Census: Number of Poor Kentuckians Remains High, Incomes Stagnant

By Jason Bailey
September 19, 2013

Poverty in Kentucky remained high in 2012 and median income in the state is 6.4 percent below its pre-recession level, according to data released today by the Census Bureau. The numbers show that Kentuckians are continuing to feel the pain of the recession and indicate that the state should be doing more to equip Kentuckians with the tools they need to move out of poverty.

19.4 percent of Kentuckians lived in poverty in 2012 compared to 17.3 percent in 2007. The state’s median annual income, adjusted for inflation, decreased from read more

Kentucky Among States that Have Substantially Cut Funding for Schools

By Jason Bailey
September 12, 2013

K-12 funding infographic 2013

Kentucky ranks fourteenth worst in the country in the depth of cuts to school funding since the start of the recession, and is one of fifteen states that have continued to cut K-12 funding in the current year, according to a new report released today by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. These damaging cuts slow the recovery and will make Kentucky less prosperous in the future.

The report shows that Kentucky has cut its per-pupil core funding for K-12 schools by 9.9 percent since 2008 after adjusting for read more

Kentucky’s Income Tax Critical to Preventing Deeper Budget Cuts

By Jason Bailey
September 6, 2013

The recession and weak recovery combined with an inadequate state tax system have led to $1.6 billion in state budget cuts over the last few years. But the situation would’ve been much worse if it weren’t for Kentucky’s individual income tax and the essential role it plays in fairly generating needed revenue.

As the graph below shows, Kentucky’s economy (measured by state personal income without adjusting for inflation) has grown 19 percent since 2007. To keep government services from shrinking, revenue should more or less keep up with economic growth. read more

New Data: One in Six Households in Kentucky Struggle Against Hunger

By Jason Bailey
September 4, 2013

1 in 6 households-250x15015.6 percent of Kentucky households report serious problems affording adequate nutritious food, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture today covering the last three years. Of the approximately 285,000 Kentucky households experiencing food insecurity, some 113,000 experienced very low food security—meaning that one or more household members have had to reduce their food intake.

The 15.6 percent of Kentucky households with food insecurity is in stark contrast to 10 years ago, when only 10.8 percent reported food insecurity, according to the report. Overall, 17.6 million American read more

Investing in Education Will Build a Stronger State Economy

By Jason Bailey
August 22, 2013

The best way for Kentucky to grow its economy is by investing in a well-educated workforce, according to a new paper from the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a project of the Economic Policy Institute.

In A Well Educated Workforce is Key to State Prosperity, Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, and Peter Fisher, research director at the Iowa Policy Project, find a strong link between the educational attainment of state workforces and both productivity and median wages. Expanding access to high quality education will read more

Revenue Forecast Shows Continued Deterioration of State Tax System

By Anna Baumann
August 16, 2013

The new long-term revenue forecast of the state’s Consensus Forecasting Group (CFG) suggests that Kentucky’s tax system will continue to deteriorate over the next four years, meaning tight funding for education, health care and other vital services.

In its first in a series of projections that will culminate in January with an official revenue estimate on which Kentucky’s 2014-16 budget will be based, the CFG chose a modest forecast for General Fund revenue growth. But as a share of the state’s economy, General Fund revenue is expected to decline.

GF as share of personal income-700x506

Source: read more

Kentucky’s Joblessness a Big Reason to Protect SNAP

By Jason Bailey
August 12, 2013

House Republican leaders are calling for even deeper cuts to the food stamps program, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), after the cuts they considered last month didn’t go far enough for some House members.

The new proposal would immediately kick up to 88,000 Kentuckians off of SNAP, and would curtail states’ ability to provide more than three months of benefits every three years to childless adults who can’t find a job during bad economic times or in a region of high unemployment. The cuts are on top of read more

Graphic: New Revenue Wouldn’t Even Cover Basic Costs

By Ashley Spalding
August 8, 2013

The graphic below shows that the modest revenue growth recently predicted for the first year of the next budget ($259 million) is not enough to cover even Kentucky’s most basic costs. Among the state’s many needs are: making full payments toward the state pension system, paying for inflation in health care prices, and beginning to restore some of the $1.6 billion in cuts over the last seven years to education, health, human services and other critical areas.

Click here to read more about the revenue forecast.





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Another Bad Year for Kentucky Workers’ Wages

By Jason Bailey
August 8, 2013

Real wages for Kentucky workers fell again last year, continuing a slide that began in 2001. Congress’ unwillingness to spur a stronger economic recovery and act on policies like raising the minimum wage play a big role in depressing wages.

Low wage Kentucky workers continue to see the real value of their wages erode. Inflation-adjusted wages for workers at the 10th percentile fell 1.5 percent in 2012—to $7.99 an hour—and have declined 6.5 percent since 2001. Likewise, workers at the 20th and 30th percentile have seen the purchasing power of read more

Small Budget Surplus Provides Little Reason to Celebrate

By Anna Baumann
August 5, 2013

Kentucky ended fiscal year 2013 with a $70.6 million surplus in the General Fund – about $30.6 million from lower-than-expected spending in a few areas and $40 million from revenue growth that slightly exceeded expectations. It’s a bit of good news, but put into context, not nearly good enough.

Growth is Weak and Inadequate

The reported surplus itself is very small, amounting to only 0.7 percent of Kentucky’s General Fund budget. But $45 million of it is not really a surplus at all, as it’s needed to pay for expenses read more