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Kentucky—and Most States—are Spending Less Per Student Than Before the Recession, Report Says

Kentucky lags behind its peers for funding its public education system since the recession, a new report from the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows.The report released Thursday shows 34 states provide less per-student funding than they did in 2008. Of those, 15 states are giving less than they did a year ago.Kentucky is among both these groups.Kentucky Center for Economic Policy Director Jason Bailey was also on the state's 2012 tax commission that recommended ways Kentucky could generate more revenue through tax changes. He says it’s up to lawmakers to act under increased budget restraints and find ways to generate more revenue.“The ball is in the court of the legislature. They are the only ones that have the authority to change state tax laws," he says.According to a 2012 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 33 states  have changed tax policies to increase revenue since the recession. Kentucky did so in 2009, when it taxed alcohol and cigarettes but that only provided a slight increase in revenue. The center says during the past few years, only 20 of those states that changed its tax policy provided a significant boost through those changes.Bailey says this coming year, the legislature will be dealing with a budget that could be worse off than the current budget and he points to issues like the state’s failing pension system as reasons why tax reforms are needed.Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday has also supported tax reforms to help pay for education when the General Assembly sets the next biennium budget. Holliday previously told WFPL he would also support expanded gaming.(Image via Shutterstock)

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