Economy en Kentucky's Budget Deficit Partly Fueled by Decline in Capital Gains Tax Reciepts <p></p><p>Kentucky is facing a $91 million budget shortfall, and one of the driving factors is a decline in a form of income primarily used by the nation’s wealthiest individuals.</p><p>In 2012, the U.S. Congress was preparing to take the country over the “fiscal cliff” over rising debt, rising healthcare costs, and spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To reduce the deficit, President Obama proposed raising the federal capital gains tax, which largely impacted the nation's wealthiest, prompting a massive sell-off by 2013.</p><p>As a result, state budget forecasters anticipated a repeat of such revenue on what was essentially a one-time occurrence.</p><p>“All states knew of this change, and they made adjustments in their revenue estimates, but it was a much larger impact nationwide than states planned for,” said Kentucky State Budget Director Jane Driskell.</p><p>Driskell says there is no need for a special legislative session to address the shortfall. Governor Beshear could issue a budget reduction order to balance the state’s coffers. Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:00:52 +0000 Jonathan Meador 50906 at Kentucky's Budget Deficit Partly Fueled by Decline in Capital Gains Tax Reciepts In Bowling Green, Coalition of Eclectic Groups Speaks Out for Immigration Reform <p></p><p>A coalition of business, political, and refugee-rights groups in south-central Kentucky is calling on Congress to pass immigration reform. &nbsp;</p><p>As part of a so-called national “Day of Action”, representatives from various backgrounds spoke Wednesday in Bowling Green about the need for Congressional &nbsp;leaders and the Obama Administration to get reform passed this year.</p><p>Barren County dairy farmer H.H. Barlow, a presidential appointee to the U.S. Board for International Food and Agriculture Development, said many Americans don’t understand the impact immigrant labor has on sectors such as the agriculture industry.</p><p>“I hate the word ‘criminals’, or ‘illegal aliens’—I don’t like that term. They’re workers. They’re performing an essential service to our country,” Barlow said.</p><p>The Barren County farmer said he speaks to his elected representatives about the need for immigration reform each time he sees them. Barlow believes that reform will not only benefit immigrants, but also the U.S. economy. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:46:34 +0000 Kevin Willis 50809 at In Bowling Green, Coalition of Eclectic Groups Speaks Out for Immigration Reform Beshear Announces $1.3 Million For Eastern Kentucky Revitalization <p></p><p>Gov. Steve Beshear&nbsp;on Monday announced $1.3 million in grants for an initiative &nbsp;to create jobs in the depressed coal regions of Eastern Kentucky.</p><p>The state plans to use $1 million to fund 52 full-time AmeriCorp&nbsp;positions&nbsp;&nbsp;to shore up "youth engagement, education success and health and human services over the next year," according to a news release from the governor's office. About&nbsp;$312,000&nbsp;"will support implementation and technical assistance by a consortium of nine Area Development Districts located in the region."</p><p>Beyond that, it's unclear how the money will be administered by the 12-member&nbsp;<a href="">executive committee</a>&nbsp;of the SOAR, or Shaping Our Appalachian Region, initiative.</p><p>Beshear, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, a Republican who represents Eastern Kentucky,&nbsp;unveiled SOAR in December in&nbsp;an attempt to gather ideas for revitalizing the&nbsp;economically devastated coal communities&nbsp;in Eastern Kentucky. Mon, 07 Jul 2014 20:52:21 +0000 Jonathan Meador 50678 at Beshear Announces $1.3 Million For Eastern Kentucky Revitalization Kentucky Senators Help Defeat Federal Minimum Wage Increase, Tennessee's Corker Only GOP "Yes" Vote <p></p><p>Kentucky’s two U.S. Senators have helped defeat an effort to raise the federal minimum wage.</p><p>Republicans Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul joined almost every other GOP Senator Wednesday in voting against a bill that would have boosted the minimum pay level for federal workers to $10.10 an hour by 2016, up from the current rate of $7.25.</p><p>Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats voted against the bill, with Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly supporting it.</p><p>Overall, the bill received 54 votes in favor and 42 votes against, short of the 60-vote threshold needed to continue.</p><p>Tennessee’s Bob Corker was the only Republican to vote in favor of the measure.</p><p>The federal minimum wage bill has become a hot campaign topic ahead of the next round of Congressional elections. Democrats have portrayed GOP opposition to a minimum wage increase as proof of Republican disinterest in the working class poor.</p><p>Republicans point to a Congressional Budget Office report that found such an increase could cost the economy 500,000 jobs. Wed, 30 Apr 2014 18:23:02 +0000 Kevin Willis 47366 at Kentucky Senators Help Defeat Federal Minimum Wage Increase, Tennessee's Corker Only GOP "Yes" Vote Paul: Increasing Minimum Wage Would Hurt "Minorities and Kids" <p>Senator Rand Paul says raising the minimum wage would negatively impact job prospects for minorities and children.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">The Courier-Journal reports</a> that while speaking Monday night to a group of business owners and officials in Louisville, Sen. Paul said Congress could help the poor and unemployed by cutting corporate and personal income taxes in struggling areas.</p><p>The Bowling Green Republican has introduced a bill that would create what he calls “economic freedom zones” in zip codes where at least one-quarter of the residents live at or below the poverty line.</p><p>That move comes amid a debate at both the federal and state governmental levels over whether the minimum wage should be hiked. Congress is considering whether to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.</p><p>Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo <a href="" target="_blank">sponsored legislation</a> this year that would have increased the state’s minimum wage to that same level over the course of three years. Tue, 29 Apr 2014 16:16:08 +0000 WKU Public Radio News 47302 at More Than 1,000 Kentucky Toyota Employees To Be Relocated <p>Toyota North America is consolidating its corporate headquarters from three locations down to one.&nbsp; Offices in Erlanger, Kentucky, California and New York will be moving to the Dallas suburb of Plano.<br /><br />That means about a 1,500 employees from Erlanger will be relocated.&nbsp; About 300 of those employees will be moving to the manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, which will remain open.&nbsp; But 250 will move to Michigan, the remainder will go to Texas.<br /><br />In a letter to Governor Steve Beshear, Toyota says the changes will leave about 8,200 Toyota employees in Kentucky.&nbsp; Beshear calls the move “extremely disappointing”.<br /> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 21:14:05 +0000 WKU Public Radio News 47277 at More Than 1,000 Kentucky Toyota Employees To Be Relocated Economic Policy Expert: Proposed State Budget Doesn't Do Enough to Correct Revenue Shortfalls <p>The director of one of Kentucky’s leading non-profit economic policy think tanks says the recently-passed state budget fails to address the state’s revenue problem.</p><p>Jason Bailey, the director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, says the budget, which includes five percent cuts to over a dozen state agencies, reflects the 14th round of harmful cuts since 2008, and doesn't do enough to generate new revenue.</p><p>“There are areas that have been time after time after time, so I think for higher education, for human services, for areas like environmental and public and worker protection, I think those systems will be frayed even further by the cuts that we’ve seen.”</p><p>Bailey adds that the revenue bill passed by the legislature that gives tax breaks to the bourbon industry and beer and wine wholesalers aren’t worth the cuts to important state agencies. Wed, 02 Apr 2014 20:26:27 +0000 Jonathan Meador 46034 at Economic Policy Expert: Proposed State Budget Doesn't Do Enough to Correct Revenue Shortfalls State Earned Income Tax Credit Proposed to Boost Economy <p>An effort is underway in the Kentucky General Assembly to enact a state Earned Income Tax Credit in addition to the federal one.&nbsp;</p><p>A state EITC is part of the tax reform proposal being considered this session, and it’s also included in stand-alone legislation.&nbsp;</p><p>Democratic Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson says the federal EITC&nbsp; most often is used to purchase basic necessities and has a ripple effect in the local economy.</p><p>"What you find from the federal earned income tax credit is that it's probably the number one item that's spent immediately upon being received by working families who qualify for the earned income tax credit," explains Abramson.</p><p>The tax reform plan calls for a state EITC at 7.5% of the federal credit.&nbsp; Separate legislation filed by Senator Morgan McGarvey, a Democrat from Louisville, would allow at state EITC of 15% of the federal credit.</p><p>"This is an opportunity to encourage all the right values - work, responsibility, family, and fairness," comments McGarvey. "Ronald Reagan called the EIC the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress, and we need to embrace that opportunity in Kentucky."</p><p>If approved by the legislature, Kentucky would be the 25<sup>th</sup> state to have a state EITC. Mon, 03 Mar 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Lisa Autry 44461 at Report: Over Half of Kentucky Residents Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck <p>A new report shows over half of Kentuckians are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and would fall below the federal poverty line if they lost their job.</p><p>The numbers come from the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a non-profit based in Washington D.C. that has released<a href="" target="_blank"> a scorecard focusing on the financial well-being</a> of households in each state.</p><p>The numbers for Kentucky aren't good.</p><p>Fifty-two percent of Kentuckians wouldn’t have enough money to get by at the federal poverty level if they lost their job. The report says that means more than half of households in the commonwealth “are one crisis away" from financial devastation.</p><p>Sixty-percent of Kentucky residents have sub-prime credit, which is defined as a credit score below 570.</p><p>Kentucky Center for Economic Policy Director Jason Bailey says the report is proof that the commonwealth has steeper economic challengers compared to many other states, because of Kentucky’s traditional reliance on low-wage jobs. Thu, 30 Jan 2014 19:44:37 +0000 WKU Public Radio News 43143 at Kentucky Economic Group Says Minimum Wage Boost Would Have Wide-Reaching Positive Impacts <p></p><p>An economic think-tank says a raise in the minimum wage would benefit reduce child poverty and help about a quarter of Kentucky workers.</p><p>The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says a $10.10 an hour minimum wage would lead to a boost in consumer spending. That, they say, would spur job creation, and allow low-income families to make ends meet.</p><p>Opponents argue higher wages would force layoffs or cause businesses to raise prices. But center director Jason Bailey says it would actually keep employees in what are currently lower-paying jobs. That cuts the costs businesses pay to hire and train new workers.</p><p>“The lack of consumer spending is a big impediment to additional hiring; that additional money in people’s pockets, low-wage workers’ pockets at this time, money that they will then spend, could actually result in a small job gain<em>,</em>" Bailey said.</p><p>Bailey supports a bill filed by House Speaker Greg Stumbo that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10. A new Public Policy Polling survey shows that 57 percent of Kentuckians support the idea.</p><p>Stumbo’s measure would also require pay equity for women, who earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. Wed, 29 Jan 2014 21:19:48 +0000 Jonathan Meador 43094 at Kentucky Economic Group Says Minimum Wage Boost Would Have Wide-Reaching Positive Impacts