Politics

Politics
6:52 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Public Comment Portion of Budget Hearings Begins Wednesday

The Louisville Metro Council will give the public a chance to comment on Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposed budget Wednesday.

The meeting will likely be dominated by representatives from various external agencies and arts groups that receive taxpayer funding from the city.

Last year, Fischer set aside $4.9 million for external agency grants and told those organizations to come up with a "plan B" to city funding, but the council added a half a million dollars to the proposal. The mayor has kept the funding flat in the upcoming fiscal year and the council is expected to add less money this year.

Budget Committee Chairwoman Marianne Butler, D-15, says it is very important that lawmakers hear from the groups.

"I’m really not sure what to expect with this year’s budget. We have heard from a few of the external agencies who of course need more money and could more than likely use more money. We just have to look at the balanced budget and see where and if we can find it," she says.

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Politics
4:47 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Paul Adds to Criticisms of EPA Ahead of Kentucky Meeting

U.S. Senate

U.S. Senator Rand Paul is joining the chorus of conservative voices criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency during this week's hearings on Kentucky mining permits. 

Many state officials are planning to speak out at today's meeting in Frankfort and Thursday's meeting in Pikeville. The Frankfort meeting is set to take place in a few hours and rallies for and against expanded mining are already underway.

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Politics
12:42 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Fischer Not Interested in Privatizing Parking

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has resisted offers to privatize the city's parking despite pressure from out-of-town companies.

The mayor is selling two downtown garages for $10.7 million to the Parking Authority of River City to help balance the budget. But PARC is a quasi-government agency that operates several downtown lots and garages for Metro Government.

Council members have questioned why those properties are being sold to a city agency and not put up for competitive bid to potentially gain more for the structures.

Louisville Chief Financial Officer Steve Rowland says the city has had several offers to privatize parking since Fischer took office, but the administration isn't interested.

"If we were to sell all our parking garages to the private sector, we would lose control over what the rates would be and we would possibly drive out over time businesses out of the downtown area because parking is a key cost to their employees," he says.

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Politics
12:24 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Ahead of Meetings in Kentucky, McConnell Again Criticizes EPA

As the Environmental Protection Agency begins its public forums on coal mining permits in Kentucky, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell is rallying for coal to be a bigger part of the nation's energy portfolio. 

McConnell has consistently criticized the EPA for its regulatory stances, saying they are harmful to Kentucky’s mining and agriculture industries. And he doubled down on that stance in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday. 

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Politics
11:33 am
Tue June 5, 2012

James Hosting Public Forum With EPA Concerning Black Leaf Site

Louisville Metro Councilman David James, D-6, will host a neighborhood forum for residents to discuss the latest information surrounding health concerns involving the Black Leaf plant site.

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Politics
7:30 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Council Questions City CFO About Budget Deals With PARC

Hearing testimony from Chief Financial Officer Steve Rowland, the Louisville Metro Council's Budget Committee began its review of the mayor's proposed spending plan on Monday.

Mayor Greg Fischer's latest budget balances the city's books without raising taxes, cutting city services or furloughing Metro employee. However, council members spent most of the time grilling the administration about the budget's reliance on the sale of two downtown garages to the parking authority.

The city is selling two downtown parking lots to the Parking Authority of River City for $10.7 million and selling two garages for $3.9 million. PARC technically purchased the garages from the former county government at merger nine years ago, but the payment was never received.

Budget Committee Vice Chairman Kelly Downard, R-16, says the mayor's agreement is unacceptable because PARC owes much more money for the garages after Metro Government paid bonds on the structures since merger.

"They’ve been taking income off this—net income—for seven to nine years, that’s our money. We’ve been paying the bonds down, good lord," he says. "I think PARC’s got a problem because they have been taking our money on a garage they didn’t pay for, on debt that we’ve been paying and I think there’s a serious problem here."

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Politics
1:33 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Secular Group Plans to Open Chapter in Kentucky

The SCA's state chapter rollout map

A national group that promotes the separation of church and state is looking to establish a chapter in Kentucky. 

The decade-old Secular Coalition for America lobbies for the separation of church and state on the federal level, and officials now want to bring those efforts to statehouses across the country. The SCA already has two chapters in other states and it plans to create 10 more soon. 

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Politics
12:40 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Beshear Says Early Work Has Begun on Health Insurance Exchange

Kentucky Governor's Office

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says early work has begun on the state's health insurance exchange.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states must build online marketplaces where residents can compare insurance plans and prices. If states don't, the federal government will run the exchanges. Beshear has promised to sign an executive order implementing the exchange if the Supreme Court rules the ACA is constitutional, but he says the state is already preparing for that outcome.

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Politics
8:00 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Hamilton to Host Forum Over Cruising, Chickasaw Park Concerns

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, is hosting  a public meeting for residents on Monday to address growing traffic concerns.

Every Sunday dozens of motorists flock to Shawnee and Chickasaw Park to take part in makeshift events, but residents are upset about the noise and cruising that takes place.

Hamilton says neighbors have complained about the increased traffic, and the forum is to discuss what steps the city will take and if common ground can be reached.

"Cruising has returned to the West End," she says. "Buses can’t get through. EMS probably could not get through. We’re not against people having a good time, but it’s gotten out of control sometime."

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Politics
6:00 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Edelen Says He'll Keep Campaign Promise to Audit Education Funding

File photo

A busy schedule won’t keep Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen from digging into school board funding.

Edelen is currently planning audits into special taxing districts and Medicaid managed care. His office is also required to do hundreds of audits of local and state government agencies. But Edelen says he’ll keep his campaign pledge to look at school funding. And that could include a review of the state’s public universities, too.

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