KY Policy Blog

Kentucky’s Revenue Not Keeping Up with Economy

By Micah Johnson
August 16, 2016

As Kentucky’s economy continues to grow, the state’s revenue intake reflects that growth less and less. Just over the last year from fiscal year 2015 to 2016, state personal income (a good measure of economic growth) grew by 4.7 percent in the Commonwealth, but the state’s General Fund grew by only 3.7 percent.

The disparity is reflective of a 25-year trend in which revenue hasn’t been keeping up with the economy. That means instead of being able to reliably maintain our investments in excellent schools, affordable higher education, job training read more

What is Recidivism and What Can Be Done to Reduce It?

By Ashley Spalding
August 15, 2016

Policy discussions around the need for criminal justice reform like those happening in our state right now often feature the term “recidivism.” While the concept is central to this topic, it’s a somewhat wonky term that may be useful to unpack. So what is recidivism? And what can be done to reduce it in Kentucky?

What is recidivism?

Recidivism is the share of inmates released from prison who are reincarcerated within a particular period of time — for instance two or three years after leaving — either for committing a read more

Kentucky’s Schools Face Funding Challenges as Kids Head Back to School

By Ashley Spalding
August 8, 2016

As kids return to school across the Commonwealth, they face continued frozen state funding that amounts to a reduction once inflation is taken into account. The lack of state funding increases for schools threatens educational gains Kentucky has made in the past and is leading to a growing gap between rich and poor schools.

Kentucky’s cuts among the biggest

Last year’s report on K-12 funding by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ranked Kentucky 6th worst in the nation when it comes to cuts in per-student core formula funding read more

Five Takeaways from Kentucky’s Year-End Revenue Results

By Anna Baumann
July 12, 2016

Revenue receipts are in for June 2016, the final month of Kentucky’s last Fiscal Year (FY), showing modestly strong General Fund growth of 3.7 percent since 2015. Here are five big takeaways:

Revenue Growth Itself Isn’t Remarkable as It Almost Always Grows from Year to Year

Kentucky collected $372 million more in FY 2016 than in FY 2015. And while this increase shows Kentucky’s economy is growing – with people earning and spending more, thus paying more income and sales taxes, for example – it is the norm for our read more

Rising Kentucky Prison Population Should Make Penal Code Reform a 2017 Priority

By Ashley Spalding
June 21, 2016

The governor’s announcement today about the formation of a Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council to work toward needed reforms is an important step in addressing a serious problem in our state. The latest data from the Department of Corrections (DOC) shows Kentucky’s inmate population has been rising rapidly, far above the state’s projections. Without additional criminal justice reforms, the number of incarcerated Kentuckians will likely continue to increase, costing the state money needed for other vital public investments and harming Kentucky families without improving public safety.

inmate population

Source: Kentucky Department of read more

Understanding Pension Contributions in the Final Budget

By Jason Bailey
May 26, 2016

The issue of pensions for Kentucky public employees and teachers is complex, and the two main pension systems — the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) and the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS) — are in distinct but related predicaments.

While a number of factors are at play in the conditions facing these funds, the primary reason for the challenges facing them is the failure of the General Assembly in the past to make the actuarially required contribution (ARC). The ARC is the amount of money that should be contributed annually to read more

Governor Vetoes Need-Based Scholarships for Thousands of Students

By Jason Bailey
April 28, 2016

Governor Bevin vetoed $40.3 million in funding for need-based college scholarships contained in House Bill 10, meaning denied aid for nearly 22,000 low-income students that had been awarded by the General Assembly. This is at the same time the budget cuts funding for higher education by 4.5 percent, leading to tuition hikes at the public universities and community colleges.

The governor’s vetoes also delay the start of the Work Ready Scholarship, a program designed to help some traditional-age students pursue associate’s degrees, by one year from 2017 to 2018. That read more

Child Care Assistance and Preschool Improved in Budget Agreement

By Dustin Pugel
April 22, 2016

The two-year budget agreement now being considered by Governor Bevin made incremental but substantial changes to the state’s two main investments in early childhood care and education (ECCE). The state’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) was given $21.2 million more across the biennium than in the previous budget, so more families can become eligible for assistance. State funded preschool was held harmless, but its income eligibility limit was also increased.

While the state only uses General Fund money for public preschool, CCAP spending comes from the General Fund, tobacco settlement read more

New Early Childhood Education Report Highlights Benefits of Investment

By Dustin Pugel
April 19, 2016

Too little funding for early childhood care and education (ECCE) in Kentucky means that quality care is too expensive for low-income families, and remains unaffordable for most Kentuckians.

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute lays out a broad argument for why bold investment in ECCE is needed. In short, children who have high quality early childhood experiences benefit immediately and well into adulthood, families with access to affordable care are able to invest in their income-earning potential and pursue careers, and states can more generally invest in a read more

General Assembly’s Budget Includes Critical Scholarship Investments

By Dustin Pugel
April 19, 2016

The final budget agreement that passed the legislature includes significant new investment in the state’s college scholarship programs. Over the biennium, the funding increase for Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) is $121.5 million over what was budgeted for the prior two-year period. This new money for scholarships is important for helping Kentuckians better afford college — particularly the state’s low-income students — and the governor should affirm these investments as he makes final decisions about the budget.

These improvements in financial aid funding are especially critical given the budget’s read more