KY Policy Blog

Closing Tax Breaks at the Top Will Generate Needed Revenue, Not Cause Millionaire Tax Flight

By Micah Johnson
October 27, 2016

A study recently published in the American Sociological Review validates efforts to strengthen investments in education, health and other key areas by cleaning up tax breaks for those at the top. The finding – that millionaires are unlikely to respond to tax increases by moving – is important for Kentucky, where our upside-down tax code (it asks the least of those with the most) has led to deeply underfunded investments.

Millionaires Are Less Likely to Move

The Stanford University authors of “Millionaire Migration and Taxation of the Elite: Evidence from read more

Dealing with the Risks of Public-Private Partnerships

By Gayle Bartilow
October 20, 2016

While cleaning up tax breaks is the best way Kentucky can generate more revenue for needed investments in infrastructure, last year the legislature streamlined the process of contracting with private entities for funding. HB 309, passed in the 2016 session of the Kentucky General Assembly, gives state and local governments greater flexibility in securing public-private partnerships (P3s) which enlist private investors for the financing, construction, operation, and/or maintenance of infrastructure projects such as highways, bridges, parks and sidewalks.

While the notion of well-financed investors may make P3s sound enticing, there read more

Roundup on Kentucky’s Criminal Justice Reform Needs and Options

By Ashley Spalding
October 11, 2016

Kentucky’s criminal justice issues have been in the news recently. The majority of Kentucky’s full-service jails are at or over capacity, and the state is considering reopening private prisons as a temporary solution to jail overcrowding despite the negative aspects of doing so, which have led the U.S. Justice Department to end its use of private prisons. A related issue is the consistent denial of bail credit in Kentucky, which contributes to the jail overcrowding problem by keeping people in jail pre-trial who should qualify for release; bail credit is read more

Promising Reform Options Being Considered by Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council

By Ashley Spalding
October 6, 2016

The state’s Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council (CJPAC) is developing ideas in the areas of drug policy, prevention, jail reform, penal code reform, reentry, recidivism reduction, and probation and parole reforms. At last week’s CJPAC meeting, work groups addressing those issues described some of the reforms they are considering as recommendations to the administration and legislature.

Here are several promising reforms under consideration:

Expanding drug courts. Drug courts target criminal defendants and offenders who have substance abuse problems. They are designed to reduced drug use relapse and recidivism through graduated read more

Corrections Data Shows Positive Impact of HB 463 That Additional Criminal Justice Reforms Can Build On

By Ashley Spalding
September 28, 2016

The impact of Kentucky’s 2011 criminal justice reforms on the state’s inmate population and budget have been much less than what was projected when Kentucky enacted HB 463, or the “Public Safety and Offender Accountability Act.” In fact, the state’s inmate population is now higher than it was in 2011, and the rate of inmates returning to prison after release — “recidivism” — is on the rise. However, new Department of Corrections (DOC) data shows that there have been some successes with HB 463, which should be built on with read more

New State Report Shows Little to No Progress on Achievement Gaps

By Ashley Spalding
September 9, 2016

The Council on Postsecondary Education’s latest accountability report, which was released yesterday, shows Kentucky has continued to make little to no progress on some important higher education measures. While the state has increased the number of degrees and credentials earned each year since the baseline year, achievement gaps remain for low-income, underrepresented minority and academically underprepared students.

Here are some highlights from the report, which focuses on progress made in 2013-2014 toward meeting the goals set out in the state’s 2011-2015 Strategic Agenda for Postsecondary and Adult Education.

Increase in read more

Criminal Justice Reform and Racial Disparities in Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
September 8, 2016

Nationally, the racial disparities that exist in the criminal justice system are well-known, with African Americans being overrepresented in prisons and jails. These racial disparities are also present in Kentucky’s criminal justice system, which is one reason why it is so important the state move forward with needed reforms.

Despite the majority of inmates in Kentucky being white, African Americans are disproportionately represented in the state’s criminal justice system. African Americans are eight percent of the adult population but:

14.4 percent of all arrests; 15.7 percent of all arrests for read more

Modest Savings from Medicaid Waiver Ignore Added Costs and Mostly Don’t Come from Expansion Population

By Dustin Pugel
August 31, 2016

The Bevin administration has submitted the revised version of its request to make changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid program and continues to tout the plan’s savings. However, projected state savings are only from covering fewer people, and those savings are small and don’t primarily come from the Medicaid expansion population, which is the portion of Medicaid the administration says we cannot afford. What’s more, savings diminish once the costs of a less-healthy population, the economic losses from fewer federal dollars into the state and higher administrative costs to operate the new read more

Budget’s Reliance on One-Time Funds Presents Challenge Next Time Around

By Jason Bailey
August 30, 2016

The new two-year state budget that began in July relies on a substantial amount of one-time monies to balance its books — more than twice as much as was used in each of the previous two budgets. That presents an extra challenge when the state comes back to develop a new budget in 17 months, as the Kentucky General Assembly must find those dollars again plus other money to deal with rising costs and the state’s many needs.

The gap in General Fund monies between what the new budget spends read more

Five Challenges Kentucky College Students Face in 2016

By Ashley Spalding
August 22, 2016

Kentucky college students face barriers and challenges as they begin a new academic year, some of which are worsening as a result of yet another round of state budget cuts to higher educational institutions.

Tuition Continues to Rise

Tuition at public universities and community colleges has been on the rise in Kentucky for years, largely as a result of state budget cuts. As we’ve described elsewhere, while Kentucky continues to cut funding for higher education most states are increasing funding. The most recent cuts have led to more tuition increases read more