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KENTUCKY

Kentucky

State Recovery Act Website: http://kentuckyatwork.ky.gov

Kentucky's state Recovery Act website scored 85 out of 100 possible points (ranking 2nd) on Good Jobs First's updated 51-state study of state stimulus websites entitled Show Us the Stimulus (Again). The state earned higher than average points for posting an interactive map with significant details on individual projects, and county by county breakdowns of spending overall and by program.

For detailed scoring information, see the Kentucky appendix of Show Us the Stimulus (Again).

Coordination & Oversight

Larry Hayes is the Secretary of the Governor's Executive Cabinet and "heads the interagency task force overseeing the stimulus."

Policy Debates

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that Kentucky used stimulus funds to close 68.4% of the state budget gap for FY 2010. Legislators were called back to participate in a special session to address an estimated $1 billion budget hole. Terry Brooks, of Kentucky Youth Advocates (part of the Kentucky Tax and Budget Initiative) has criticized this heavy use of stimulus funds as another quick fix approach to balancing the budget.  Another point of criticism was over the introduction of new tax breaks.

Human service advocates criticized lawmaker's decision to divert almost $400 million from the state Medicaid program fund to other state agencies. As a result of the ARRA, the state was able to use federal funds to support a larger share of the state Medicaid fund. A portion of state funds intended for the Medicaid program-$400 million-were no longer required to keep the fund solvent. Critics from various advocacy groups supporting children and the elderly complain using that money to backfill the budget ignores the growing need for human services and misses an opportunity to expand services and support.

On April 17, 2009, Gov. Beshear signed an emergency order to accept the portion of the unemployment insurance aid that does not involve changes in the state's system. This allows workers to extend their unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 33 weeks. However, they may have to wait up to two months to receive these additional benefits. Gov. Beshear created a task force to study the state's unemployment insurance system to see if the state should change its law to receive $45 million in additional stimulus funds. The task force is an 18-member panel of business and labor leaders and legislators. Kentucky was also one of 14 states that had to borrow from the federal government to continue its unemployment benefits to jobless workers.

In April 2009 the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacture (a consortium of about 50 companies) selected Kentucky's Hardin County as the site for its $600 million lithium ion battery plant. The decision came after the state offered the Alliance a $200 million subsidy package that includes assistance with land, construction, infrastructure and training. The state worked with the Alliance to apply for a share of the $2 billion in competitive grants that the stimulus act provides for work on advanced batteries. Kentucky ultimately lost the bid, and according to Alliance founder James J. Greenberger, without the requested $342 million in federal stimulus funds it is unlikely the project will proceed. Michigan, which also competed both in the Alliance citing competition and the federal grant process, and offered an even larger subsidy package, was awarded $1 billion.

Last updated on: 27 January, 2010

Quick Facts

Population:
4,269,245

Median Household Income:
$40,267

Unemployment Rate:
11.1%

Poverty Rate:
17.3%

Estimated Recovery Act Funding:
$3 billion

Resources

Kentucky Youth Advocates, The Federal Stimulus Package: Information and Points to Consider, February 9, 2009; online here.

Kentucky Youth Advocates, Understanding the Federal Economic Stimulus Legislation and the Expected Impact on Kentucky, May 2009; online here.

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth devotes a section of their website about the state's recovery titled Federal Stimulus Dollars in Kentucky; online here.

 

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