economy

Mary Meehan

A liberal leaning policy institute is suggesting the state focus more on raising revenue and less on cutting social programs.  A new report shows that over the past decade the state has had 19 rounds of budget cuts. The governor’s proposed budget includes across the board cuts, as well as reduced funding to some social programs and educational resources.

 

The report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says the state could raise revenue by limiting income tax breaks, taxing online purchases and repealing some tax exemptions. Executive director Jason Bailey said lawmakers seem more willing to look at taxes as an option for raising revenue than they have been in the past.

A liberal-leaning public policy group said Kentucky’s per-pupil spending on public education is lower than it was ten years ago once inflation is taken into account.

During his budget address last month, Governor Bevin promised to maintain per-pupil funding for the state’s K-12 students.

But a report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy shows that when inflation is taken into account, the amount of money spent by the state on a per-pupil basis has actually decreased by 16 percent since 2008. Ashley Spalding is a senior policy analyst with KCEP. She said claims that public school funding has been maintained are misleading.

Peabody Energy, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons

At a recent conference in Lexington, Kentucky, economists and community leaders gathered to talk about the state’s current budget crunch and possible economic future. Peter Hille, president of Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, said Kentucky and other Appalachian states need to do more to build a new economy and move from dependence on a single source.

“Because coal played such a dominant role, it took the oxygen out of the room for the development of other sectors of the economy,” he said.


Thinkstock

New data show that Kentucky’s incarceration rate is increasing, while the national rate continues to decline.

 

Figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics show Kentucky has the ninth-highest incarceration rate in the nation. The commonwealth’s female incarceration rate is more than twice the national average, making it the second-highest in America.

Still from White House video

Donald Trump loves coal.

He campaigned on a promise to put miners back to work and his first year in office included numerous Ohio Valley visits to highlight coal’s importance.

“I love our coal miners and they’re coming back strong!” Trump said to a roaring crowd at an August rally in Huntington, West Virginia.

At a March rally in Louisville the message was the same. “We are going to put our coal miners back to work! They have not been treated well but they are.”


flickr creative commons

A new survey shows more people moved out of Kentucky last year than moved into the state. About 55 percent of those surveyed by United Van Lines said they left Kentucky because they found a new job somewhere else. People also reported leaving to be closer to family and relocating for retirement.

The biggest age group moving out of the state is those 65 and older. United Van Lines spokesperson Melissa Sullivan said it’s only in the last two years that Kentucky has seen more people leaving the state.

Mary Meehan

Imagine living and working somewhere designed to fit a couple hundred people. Now picture that same space crammed with twice that number. Madison County, Kentucky, Jailer Doug Thomas doesn’t have to imagine it. He lives it.

“I’m doing all that I can with what I have to work with, which is not a lot,” he said. “Because we’re a 184 bed facility with almost 400 people.”

According to the Madison County jail task force, roughly 80 percent of the people incarcerated there are jailed on charges that somehow relate to addiction. County Judge Executive Reagan Taylor wants to try a different approach.


Creative Commons

Braidy Industries released the names of its shareholders over the weekend. The aluminum company is planning a state-subsidized $1.3 billion facility in Greenup County.

 

The move came after the Courier Journal requested a list of investors and shareholders. That request was partially denied. The list the paper received showed only two previously known owners, with the rest of the names blacked out.

Becca Schimmel

A financial technology company says Kentucky is home to three of the top 25 best places in the

U.S. to work in manufacturing. The list created by the company “Smart Asset” ranks the Elizabethtown-Fort Knox area as the fifth-best place in the country for manufacturing jobs.

Owensboro was ranked 17th, and the Louisville metro area was 19th. The report says a little more than 17 percent of jobs in the Elizabethtown-Fort Knox region fall into the manufacturing category. That area has seen a 7 percent increase in manufacturing job growth over a one-year period.

Mimi Pickering, WMMT

One evening this past November, angry customers and public officials filled a high school auditorium in Hazard, Kentucky, and took turns pleading with three members of the state’s public service commission.

Angie Hatton, a state legislator representing Letcher and Pike counties, presented the situation in historical terms. “This community that for two centuries has been powering our nation, we’re now struggling to keep our own lights on.”


ThinkStock

A panel of economists is more pessimistic about Kentucky’s tax revenue than it was a few months ago. The group revised downward its prediction of how much Kentucky will make in tax revenue by the end of the fiscal year in June.

The Consensus Forecasting Group on Friday predicted that the state will be $156.1 million short of initial projections, down from $155 million predicted in October.

Benny Becker

The sound of power tools blends with teenage chatter as students clamber around, under, and over a trailer bed that they’re busy turning into a home. They’re part of a project called “Building It Forward,” which has vocational classes building tiny houses as a way of gaining practical skills and new confidence.

Just a few feet from the garage door at the back of the room, there’s a vertical rock face. It’s all coal from the ground up at least ten feet. Coal here can be a reminder of the past — of the time when this land that the school sits on was blasted flat by miners; of times when coal jobs were plentiful here in eastern Kentucky.


LBJ Library/public domain

Law professor Philip Alston is a United Nations expert on extreme poverty. In his position as a U.N. Special Rapporteur  he reports on places where pervasive poverty and human rights issues intersect, places such as Haiti, south Asia and central Africa. His latest work, however, is taking him to parts of the U.S., including the Ohio Valley.

“The United States has been very keen for me and others to investigate human rights issues in other countries, which I have done,” Alston said. “Now, it's the turn to look at what's going on in the U.S. There are pretty extreme levels of poverty in the United States given the wealth of the country. And that does have significant human rights implications.”

Becca Schimmel

A southern Kentucky judge said the cost of incarceration is changing the way Kentucky deals with drug offenders.

Warren Circuit Court Judge Steve Wilson said he’s seen a shift in how Kentucky’s legislators view incarceration for drug crimes. He said legislators are increasingly talking to him and other judges about alternatives to jail. He said the cost of keeping people behind bars has a lot to do with that shifting mindset.

Lisa Autry

For some Kentuckians, Wal-Mart is now offering a game changer when it comes to grocery shopping. 

The company launched its online grocery sales and pickup service at its two Bowling Green stores on Wednesday.

Consumers can select their items online, drive to the store, and have personal shoppers load their groceries without ever leaving their vehicle.  

Andrew Myers is the assistant manager of e-commerce at Wal-Mart's Morgantown Road location.  He says the pickup service is a sign of the times as more shoppers seek convenience.

Pages