debt

Even some of those seeking the nation's highest office have weighed in on college debt with payment plans and relief proposals. Voters and the media ask for details on the campaign trail. And that highlights a remarkable shift: Policymakers and politicians are paying attention to this issue like never before.

And it's not as simple or cynical as trying to woo the important student vote. The fact is, the student loan burden in America is second only to mortgages in consumer debt. The government estimates that some 41 million students together owe more than $1.2 trillion.

Here's what I remember about the beginning of the night: I'd planned to stay up late, for work. Later than usual, to watch President Obama's State of the Union address.

It was cold outside, January in D.C. A snowstorm was coming, and the digital antenna for my TV wasn't behaving. I was getting up often to adjust it.

I also remember the president had a lot of energy. It was 2014 and the economy was finally in shape. He wanted to make sure we knew.

About an hour into the speech, he got to the part about education, and said something that changed my life:

For most of us, debt is a big part of life. According to a new study by Pew Charitable Trusts, 80 percent of Americans have some form of debt — from student loans to credit card balances.

There are many among the so-called silent generation, those born before World War II, who are still paying off mortgages and credit cards.

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A bill intended to reduce state debt over time is on its way to the Kentucky House. The Senate voted 28-8 Friday in favor of the measure, which limits general fund supported debt to six percent. 

Sponsor Joe Bowen says, taking into account courthouse construction borrowing, the Commonwealth's current debt ratio is eight percent. Somerset Senator Chris Girdler says attitudes about borrowing are troubling. 

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Legislation aimed at reducing Kentucky's debt is headed to the Senate floor. The measure seeks to lower overall debt over time. 

This story is part of the New Boom series on millennials in America.

If Noelle Johnson had a bachelor's degree, she'd be able to live closer to work, she says. She wouldn't have to spend so much of her free time hustling for baby-sitting gigs. She'd shop at the farmers market. She'd be able to treat her sister to dinner for once. She and her husband could go on trips together — they'd be able to afford two tickets instead of one.

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U.S. Senator Rand Paul says he agrees with President Barack Obama’s main point that all Americans must work together to turn around the economy and reduce debt. But speaking to a Rotary club in Horse Cave Monday, Paul said he doesn’t agree with the approach the president wants to take: increasing taxes on the wealthy.

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An annual report that describes the state’s financial outlook shows that Kentucky has once again gone deeper into debt.

The report, when compared with past years, shows the state added more than $110 million in debt during the last fiscal year.

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A proposal to cap Kentucky's debt has hit a roadblock in the House.

The House Appropriations and Revenue committee took up Senate Bill 1 today. The bill wouldn't allow the state to accrue debt worth more than six percent of the general fund revenue, but doesn't cap debt in the road fund or most education budgets.

The bill easily sailed through the Senate, a point bill sponsor Senator Joe Bowen made to the House committee.

Kentucky lawmakers are once again ready to approve a bill capping the state's debt at six percent of revenues.

The issue has been in and out of committee multiple times this session. It started as a constitutional amendment, then changed to a regular bill. And state Senators have renamed the measure to show their commitment to it. It is now called Senate Bill 1.

Currently, Kentucky is just over the six percent debt-to-revenue ratio, and bill sponsor Joe Bowen says the bill is a safeguard.