KY Policy Blog

Tax Plan Would Fix Kentucky’s Budget Challenges by Addressing Upside Down Tax Code

By Jason Bailey
February 13, 2020

A new bill would generate substantial new revenue for Kentucky’s budget by asking those at the top and corporations to chip in a portion of the enormous federal and state tax cuts they have received in recent years for the investments that benefit all Kentuckians.

HB 416, sponsored by Representative Lisa Willner, would take a big step toward cleaning up the tax code and addressing our upside-down system — which currently requires low and middle-income Kentuckians to contribute a higher share of their income in taxes than the wealthy. The read more

Bill Capping Insulin Prices Would Help Many Thousands of Kentuckians With Diabetes

By Dustin Pugel
February 13, 2020

House Bill 12 is a much-needed bill to help reduce insulin costs for some of the 442,500 Kentuckians with diabetes. Under the bill, cost sharing for insulin could not exceed $100 per 30-day supply of any kind of insulin.

Insulin costs have been steadily climbing

Although a very commonly prescribed medication, insulin prices have been growing rapidly in recent years, and are out of reach for many people with diabetes. Between 2012 and 2016, insulin prices at the point of sale more than doubled in Kentucky, growing from $352 to read more

House Bill 1 Proposes Costly and Unworkable Barriers to Well-Being

By Dustin Pugel
February 6, 2020

House Bill 1 (HB 1) would make sweeping changes to the way we provide medical, food and income assistance to Kentuckians with very low incomes. The bill as introduced adds unnecessary, unworkable and potentially unlawful measures that would harm Kentuckians who are struggling to get by, and adds enormous cost to the state. Instead, Kentucky could pursue evidence-based policies that have the potential to remove barriers and improve quality of life.

HB 1 Adds Barriers to Health, Food, Child Care and Other Kinds of Assistance

The bill sponsors have described read more

Understanding the Quasi Pension Funding Issue

By Jason Bailey
February 3, 2020

Over the last few days, attention has turned to whether Governor Beshear’s budget underfunds the main state worker pension system, the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) non-hazardous plan, in the amount contributed for quasi-governmental agencies. The level of contributions for the last two years, as well as the level under the governor’s proposal, technically provide less than the KRS board has requested. That will also be the case in the new budget that eventually passes unless additional revenue is generated or resources are freed up through more painful budget cuts. read more

Bill Supports Public Safety and Protects Children From Automatically Being Tried as Adults

By Ashley Spalding
January 29, 2020

Current law in Kentucky mandates that children charged with certain felony offenses be prosecuted as adults, rather than as juveniles. The current law limits the discretion of prosecutors and judges, which negatively impacts too many Kentucky children and does not enhance public safety. A recent proposal from Senator Westerfield, Senate Bill 87 (SB 87), would move Kentucky in the right direction by eliminating the mandatory transfer of children to adult court that currently exists in some cases.

Kentucky’s mandatory transfer allowance needs to be eliminated

Laws that mandated the transfer read more

Kentucky Classrooms Cannot Afford to Have Resources Siphoned Away by Most Expensive Neo-Voucher Proposal Yet

By Anna Baumann
January 29, 2020

All Kentucky children – living in poor and wealthy districts, black, brown and white, whose parents didn’t finish high school and that have advanced degrees – deserve a high-quality education that will equip them to contribute fully to their community and the state’s economy. The most efficient and effective way to invest state tax dollars toward that end is to adequately and equitably fund the state’s public schools.

But House Bill 350 (HB 350) and its companion bill in the Senate (SB 110) would siphon a large and growing amount read more

Another Year of Modest Job Growth in Kentucky

By Jason Bailey
January 24, 2020

We outlined in a 2018 report how Kentucky’s economic performance had fallen short of claims based on corporate announcements. Among other things, we noted that the pace of state job growth had slowed in recent years, and that Kentucky’s growth rate remained behind the nation and the region.

This week, the final month of preliminary 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was released, and it shows Kentucky’s slower pace of growth continued over the last year, raising concerns about an economic recovery that has not reached the entire read more

Tax Cuts Causing the Worst Revenue Projections Since Consensus Forecasting Began

By Jason Bailey
January 23, 2020

Next week, Governor Beshear will present his state budget proposal to the General Assembly and the legislature will begin crafting a new budget for the next two years. Due in large part to recent tax cuts, they will do so with the worst projected revenue growth since the state established the modern consensus forecasting process.

By law since 1996, the legislature creates Kentucky’s two-year budget based on official revenue projections made by an independent body of experts known as the Consensus Forecasting Group (CFG). That group’s official projections must be read more

Child Care Assistance Is a Great Investment for Kentucky, but Remains Inadequate

By Dustin Pugel
January 22, 2020

The most active and critical years for children’s physical, cognitive and social development are ages zero to three, so high-quality early child care settings are central to preparing the commonwealth’s kids for their future. Yet funding for Kentucky’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) program is inadequate, compromising the quality, availability and affordability of child care in the state. During a recent Budget Review Subcommittee meeting, the Prichard Committee testified that in order to meet a modest but effective level of child care quality and make more children eligible for subsidies, read more

Harsh Measure Threatens Kentucky’s Families and Finances

By Anna Baumann and Jessica Klein
January 8, 2020

A new harmful and costly immigration proposal – Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) – would create an impractical mandate for most public agencies in Kentucky to participate in federal immigration law enforcement in order to maximize arrests and deportations of immigrants. Aggressive enforcement would create many costs for already cash-strapped public agencies as well as detrimental social, health and economic consequences for Kentucky children, families and communities. 

Immigration enforcement would be costly for public agencies and detrimental to services they provide

SB 1 requires all public agencies and organizations whose read more