KY Policy Blog

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

Cuts to Property Valuation Administrators Counterproductive

By Ashley Spalding
February 24, 2016

Kentucky’s Property Valuation Administrators (PVAs) testified to a House budget review subcommittee yesterday that proposed budget cuts could compromise the state’s ability to generate property tax revenue. Such cuts may be counterproductive because by undermining our ability to collect revenue they can worsen budget problems.

Kentucky counts on property taxes to help fund state services, school districts and local governments. In 2014, total real and tangible property tax revenue to the state totaled $2.8 billion. About $1.4 billion of those dollars are generated locally for schools.

Collecting that revenue depends read more

Undocumented Immigrants in Kentucky Pay $37 million in State and Local Taxes, Would Increase with Legal Status

By Anna Baumann
February 24, 2016

Undocumented immigrants contribute to the Kentucky communities in which they live and work in a number of ways, including through taxes. Because immigration reform would provide a pathway for full compliance with tax laws — as well as improve immigrants’ ability to earn financial and human capital — it would also increase the taxes they pay.

A new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates the 45,000 undocumented immigrants living in Kentucky today pay $37 million every year in state and local taxes — at an effective read more

Cuts to Community Colleges Mean Disinvestment in Kentucky’s Primary Workforce Development Source

By Ashley Spalding
February 22, 2016

Governor Bevin’s interest in investing in workforce development is a notable priority. However, the approach outlined in his budget proposal decreases investment in the state’s primary site of workforce development: its community colleges.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) is by far the state’s largest workforce development program. In 2015 the state budgeted $185.9 million for academic programs and employer services and an additional $5.6 million specifically for workforce development and training at KCTCS, according to the Legislative Research Commission’s Office of Budget Review. That far exceeds spending read more

Infographic: Kentucky Higher Education Cuts Among Worst in Country

By Kenny Colston
February 18, 2016

Even as most states have begun to restore funding for higher education after cuts during the recession, Kentucky has continued to reduce funding as outlined a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Continued cuts will make it harder for the state to grow and attract businesses that rely on a well-educated workforce.  To reverse these disturbing trends, Kentucky needs to make higher education a greater priority. In order to make sure the Commonwealth has enough money to fund higher education adequately, lawmakers need to commit to revenue-raising read more

Tuition Freeze Is Not Proper Answer to College Affordability Problem Given Large, Continuous Budget Cuts

By Ashley Spalding
February 17, 2016

With the steep increases in tuition at Kentucky’s public universities and community colleges in recent years, a state mandated tuition freeze as proposed in SB 75 might sound like a good idea. But even with past tuition increases, the state’s higher education institutions are facing significant funding shortfalls once the growth in fixed costs like health insurance and utilities, on top of General Fund cuts, are taken into consideration.

Even while additional state cuts to higher education are being proposed, proponents of a tuition freeze assert that Kentucky’s public universities read more

What Would Budget Cuts to the Attorney General and Board of Elections Mean?

By Ashley Spalding
February 15, 2016

Many Kentuckians may not be aware of the important role that some state agencies play in our everyday lives. When we hear about proposed cuts to the Attorney General, Secretary of State or the Board of Elections, for instance, we may not be particularly concerned. But these agencies play critical roles in protecting the public and safeguarding democracy in our state.

Kentucky’s Attorney General is tasked with:

Addressing Kentucky’s drug epidemic through enforcement and by directing settlement proceeds to drug treatment programs. Prosecuting crimes — i.e., public corruption investigations and read more

Infographic: Budget Cuts Have Costs and Consequences

By Kenny Colston
February 10, 2016

Governor Bevin’s budget includes nine percent across the board cuts to most state services. If these cuts go into effect, many areas will have been cut by 15 to 50 percent since 2008. The infographic below highlights some potential harmful effects from such cuts.

Budget Cuts Infographic read more

What’s Not Exempt from Cuts in the Governor’s Budget

By Jason Bailey
February 3, 2016

While a lot of attention has been given to what receives new dollars in the governor’s budget and what’s exempted from additional cuts, less attention has been given to what is not exempt. While the budget bill doesn’t specify exactly where cuts of 9 percent (4.5 percent this fiscal year) will apply, it’s clear which cabinets, agencies and programs are not spared from potential cuts.

Below is a partial list of areas that are vulnerable to the cuts. If certain programs or agencies are spared, even deeper cuts will need read more

Raising Minimum Wage Would Reduce Spending on Medicaid

By Dustin Pugel
December 4, 2015

Those advocating to scale back Kentucky’s highly-successful Medicaid expansion cite a concern about its cost to the state. One way to help buffer costs would be to raise the minimum wage in Kentucky to $10.10 per hour, which would reduce the state’s spending on Medicaid by an estimated $34 million each year according to research by the Center for American Progress.

An increase of the minimum wage to $10.10 would directly impact an estimated 304,000 Kentucky workers, 16,700 of whom would see their earnings increase to the point that they read more