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.
Sixty-percent of Kentucky residents have sub-prime credit, which is defined as a credit score below 570.
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.
President Lyndon B. Johnson went to eastern Kentucky in 1964 to promote his War on Poverty. But when he did, he opened a wound that remains raw today. People in the region say they're tired of always being depicted as poor, so when NPR's Pam Fessler went to Appalachia to report on how the War on Poverty is going, she was warned that people would be reluctant to talk. Instead, she got an earful.
Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson stood before Congress and declared an "unconditional war on poverty in America." His arsenal included new programs: Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, food stamps, more spending on education and tax cuts to help create jobs.
In the coming year, NPR will explore the impact and extent of poverty in the U.S., and what can be done to reduce it.
Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator says any extension of long-term unemployment benefits must be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere.
Long-term unemployment compensation expired on December 28. Sixty Senators, mostly Democrats, voted Tuesday to open debate on legislation that would extend the program for three months.
Kentucky Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul voted against the procedure. In a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell said the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to improve the job prospects of those looking for work.
"Yes, we should work on solutions to support those who are out of work through no fault of their own. But there is no excuse to pass unemployment insurance legislation without also finding ways to create good, stable, high-paying jobs--and also trying to find the money to pay for it," Sen. McConnell said Tuesday.
New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show Kentucky with one of the highest poverty rates in the U.S. The figures are part of the bureau’s latest American Community Survey which was released Thursday.
Kentucky had the fifth-highest percentage of residents living in poverty in 2012, behind only Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas. A little more than 823,000 Kentuckians, or 19.4 percent of the state’s population, suffer through poverty. That represents a 0.3 percent increase in the commonwealth’s poverty rate since 2011.
By comparison, Tennessee’s poverty rate stood at 17.9 percent in 2012, an improvement of 0.4 percent over 2011. The poverty rate in Indiana was 15.6 percent, which was also an improvement of 0.4 percent.
There was at least one bit of good news for the Bluegrass State in the latest survey. Kentucky is one of just three states to see a statistically significant increase in the rate of private health insurance coverage from 2010 to 2012.
You can see a report containing the latest American Community Survey data on poverty in the U.S here.
Top state budget staffers are predicting meager revenue growth over the next two years in the General Fund and a slight decline in the Road Fund, largely because of Kentucky's slow rebound from economic recession.
Government financial analyst Greg Harkenrider told a group of Kentucky's top economists on Thursday that collections from the individual income tax, the state's top revenue producer, is projected to rise between 1.6 percent and 4 percent in the next two fiscal years. That would help to offset projected declines in the coal severance tax and the cigarette tax.
Those latest projections were presented Thursday to economists serving on the Consensus Forecasting Group, a panel charged with predicting long-term state government revenues.
The budget outlooks in both Kentucky and Tennessee are healthier than they were this time last year. Kentucky Budget Director Jane Driskell announced Friday that the state’s general fund receipts for the first month of the fiscal year were up two-percent over July of last year.
Tennessee, meanwhile, has ended its budget year with a $42 million budget surplus, fueled partly by a nine-percent increase in the Volunteer State’s corporate tax receipts. Governor Bill Haslam’s office hasn’t said yet what he plans to do with the extra money.
Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator says he’s developing a “Republican alternative” to a Detroit bailout plan.
Speaking on the Glenn Beck radio show, Senator Paul said he is talking with his staff about ways to help economically depressed areas of the country, like Detroit. The Bowling Green Republican said he would like to look at ways to “have some tax forbearance, reduce some taxes, encourage businesses, encourage people to come in and take abandoned property.”
Politico reports Paul is opposed to the idea of borrowing money to bail out the city, but he is suggesting the government should redirect foreign aid sent to countries like Egypt, and instead use it on infrastructure projects in the U.S.
A national poll conducted by Quinnipiac University shows that a majority Democrats believe the federal government should bail out Detroit, but an even larger majority of Americans oppose such a move.