KY Policy Blog

What’s In the Senate Pension Bill

By Jason Bailey
February 21, 2018

The Senate’s pension legislation, introduced as SB 1, includes cutting teachers’ cost of living adjustments, moving new teachers into a less secure hybrid cash balance plan and requiring an expensive method of paying unfunded liabilities known as “level dollar.”

Major components of the bill include the following:

Current employees and teachers lose benefits

The bill includes a number of reductions to benefits for current teachers and employees. For teachers, it cuts in half the annual cost of living adjustment received in retirement for 12 years, reducing it from 1.5 percent  read more

Switching to 401ks Is a Lose-Lose

By Jason Bailey
February 12, 2018

It’s a bad idea for Kentucky to shut down its pension plans and move new teachers and public employees into less efficient 401k-type defined contribution (DC) plans. State and local governments would pay more while workers would receive a smaller and less secure benefit. It’s a lose-lose proposition for employees, the quality of public services and the commonwealth as a whole.

DC plans cost more than Kentucky’s existing pension plans

A switch to DC plans will fail to save money because the employer contribution for new workers in Kentucky’s existing read more

Gang Bill Unproven and Costly Approach

By Ashley Spalding
February 6, 2018

House Bill 169 proposes to make charges and related sentences much harsher for some crimes committed by individuals identified as gang members. This is an unproven approach to addressing gang violence. Its expanded definition of gang membership could disproportionately and unfairly harm communities of color, and would be costly at a time when Kentucky is in great need of common sense reforms to safely address the state’s growing inmate population and overwhelmed criminal justice system.

What the Bill Does

Enhances penalties for gang recruitment: There is already a state statute read more

Kentucky Better Budget Builder

By Anna Baumann
February 5, 2018

Kentucky has what it takes to restore essential investments our commonwealth — revenue options to address our eroding General Fund as an alternative to more budget cuts. This interactive tool allows you to try your hand at building a better budget through targeted investments as well as the revenue options to pay for them. By cleaning up tax breaks, we can do more for our kids, neighborhoods and local economies.

For instance, you may want to shrink our structural deficit (and prevent more budget cuts) by making the individual income read more

Significant Cuts Proposed for PVA Offices Will Harm Property Tax Revenues Statewide

By Pam Thomas
February 2, 2018

Kentucky’s Property Valuation Administrators (PVAs) told a House Budget Review Subcommittee yesterday that the governor’s budget contains cuts of 23.5 percent to PVAs that would require layoffs of approximately 40 percent of PVA staff statewide (250 of the current 593.5 state funded employees). They also testified that the cuts would severely compromise their ability to do their jobs and generate more property tax revenue for the state and local taxing districts.

Who Are PVAs and What Role Do They Play?

Each county in Kentucky has a publicly elected Property Valuation read more

Adequate Fund Balances are Crucial for Prudent School District Management and Should Not be Relied Upon to Make Up for State Funding Cuts

By Pam Thomas
January 29, 2018

One of the ways the governor’s budget expects local school districts to make up for significant cuts he has proposed in state support for education, including transportation and teacher health insurance, is through spending down district reserves.  State law requires school districts to budget for a minimum reserve of at least two percent of the total school budget. However, districts that are able to retain balances greater than the statutory minimum because of sound financial practice, including needs for debt service coverage, bond trustee requirements and bonding capacity, credit rating, read more

Governor’s Budget Cuts Per-Student SEEK Funding

By Ashley Spalding
January 23, 2018

The Support for Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) formula is the primary source of funding for the state’s local school districts. Despite the perception that SEEK funding is not cut in the governor’s budget proposal, a detailed look shows this is not the case.

One part of the SEEK formula is base funding, which comes from a combination of resources raised by the local district as well as state funding. This base funding amount is often referred to as the “per-pupil guarantee” and the level is established for each year read more

More Detail About 70 Programs Defunded in Governor’s Budget Proposal

By Anna Baumann
January 19, 2018

This table provides information about the 70 programs for which Governor Bevin’s 2018-2020 budget proposal would eliminate state funding. The proposal is available here. All programs identified as being eliminated are listed, even those that do not have an appropriation in the current fiscal year. This table will be updated as we learn more.

This post was updated on Jan. 22, 2018.





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School Voucher Tax Break Proposals Further Threaten Funding for Public Education

By Anna Baumann
January 10, 2018

Bills have already been filed in both the Senate and the House this session that would further threaten resources for Kentucky’s already underfunded public schools and other services, allow high-income Kentuckians to make money from “donations” to private schools and allow relatively well-off Kentuckians to benefit from the private school scholarships the bills would create. These proposals, referred to by proponents as “Ed Choice” tax credits, are thinly disguised private school vouchers that shift resources from public services to private schools.

Tax Breaks Will Reduce Resources for Kentucky’s Public Schools read more

New 2018 Cuts Hit Some Departments Harder Than Others

By Ashley Spalding
January 3, 2018

Last week the governor announced mid-year budget cuts for fiscal year 2018 that represent an overall cut of 1.3 percent to all 3 branches of state government. However, it is important to note that the cuts made in the executive branch are not distributed equally across departments and agencies, and some will suffer very large reductions as shown in the table below.

For those areas that were cut (and some areas were not) the cuts range from 0.2 percent (for the Department of Aging and Independent Living) to 20 percent read more