Center for Economic Advancement

Exploring Barriers to Kentucky Broadband Expansion

What state government action can Kentucky take to expand broadband access in the Commonwealth? 

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, this paper explores the current state of broadband access in Kentucky with a focus on the steps needed for further expansion. The primary effort of this paper is to examine regulatory barriers that government might remove or suggested policy changes, but should not be confused to suggest that elimination of barriers alone will lead to full scale broadband implementation. 

Kentucky State and Local Government Revenue Impacts from Covid-19 Episode

Through the Spring and Summer, Kentucky faced unprecedented economic challenges due to the state shutdown. Record unemployment, business closures, and more will almost certainly have long term impacts. One area that our organization took interest in was government revenue. While early predictions spread doom and gloom type scenarios, what is the reality of the situation?

 

Our newest research summarizes the recent fiscal impacts of the Covid-19 on Kentucky state government and selected major local governments in the state.

FDA Inaction Threatens Future of Hemp/CBD Industry

A recent Politico headline announced “Hemp was supposed to boost farmers. It’s turned out to be a flop.” Indeed both industry insiders and outside observers seem to have soured.

As with any market, especially a new market, the factors that lead to success or failure are near endless, and individual decisions play a large roll. For the emerging hemp industry, one factor looms particularly large: regulatory uncertainty.

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Policy Primer: Price Controls and 

Surprise Billing in Healthcare

Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman once said, "We economists don't know much, but we do know how to create a shortage. If you want to create a shortage of tomatoes, for example, just pass a law that retailers can't sell tomatoes for more than two cents per pound. Instantly you'll have a tomato shortage. It's the same with oil or gas." Decades later, despite overwhelming research in opposition to them, lawmakers are once again considering price controls to "fix" problems within America's healthcare system.  

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Policy Primer:

Innovation, Car Rentals, and Taxation

In the last decade, the sharing economy has provided consumers with an incredible amount of new peer-to- peer resources. Citizens can now turn their unused car, home, or RV into a valuable income stream. As the sharing economy increased in size, and revolutionized markets, lawmakers acted quickly to regulate and tax the many new industries. However, one area of this economy that has not been generally addressed is peer-to-peer rental car usage. This policy primer aims to examine the historical significance of car rental taxes and the prospect of expanding those to the sharing economy to ensure a competitive marketplace.  

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Competition and Certificate-of-Need Laws

This policy note offers comment on the importance of competition in

market economies and on the impediments certificate-of-need (CON)

regulation places on the competitive process. CON regulation prevents

supplier/providers from entering certain health care markets unless they

can demonstrate to state authorities that there is an unmet need for their

services.

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Ditching the Welcome Mat:

How Kentucky Harms Workers, Military Families and Consumers with Occupational Licensing  

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has one of the lowest rates of workers to working age adults in the country. These workers and would-be workers face many challenges. Government- mandated career paths erect barriers that slow the growth of employment and new businesses and also kill jobs.

These government-mandated barriers are known as occupational licenses. More Kentuckians than ever need this government permission slip to work. Today, 19.4% of Kentucky’s workforce needs a license. In the 1950s, only one in 20 workers nationally needed a license to work.

This report is the first of its kind focusing on how occupational licensing affects Kentucky. It reviews the effects on Kentucky’s economy, workers, military families, and consumers.

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Tax Proposal to Address Medicaid Costs Through Tobacco Harm Reduction

For many years Kentucky has had the highest smoking rates and the highest percentage of smoking-attributable deaths in the U.S. However, in one respect Kentucky has been a leader. In 2005, the Kentucky General Assembly passed and Governor Ernie Fletcher signed into law a bill recognizing that “taxing tobacco products according to relative risk is a rational tax policy and may well serve the public health goal of reducing smoking- related mortality and morbidity and lowering health care costs associated with tobacco- related disease.”

 

So how can Kentucky continue to move its tobacco tax structure in the correct direction? We examine that in detail in this report. 

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A Pro Growth Plan for Tax Reform

The tax code is the number one way that a state can dictate the direction of its economy. While states around us have made decisions that promoted growth, Kentucky’s tax structure has remained an economic burden. The result for our Commonwealth is decades of anemic growth, restricting our production, limiting employment opportunities, and reducing household incomes. A pro-growth tax code will not fix these problems overnight, but it is a critical component on our pathway to a more prosperous state.  

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